After the rush of holiday shopping comes the flood of holiday returns. In this past weekend’s Consumed column in the NY Times Magazine  Rob Walker discussed the attempts made by many companies to turn their returns into profits. Clothing, cosmetics and electronics retailers are focusing more of their attention on how to keep their used products, often in nearly new (or atleast workable) condition, out of landfills and circulating in the market.

Electronics producers in particular, conscious of the growing impact of e-waste on the environment, are coming up with new ways to recycle their goods – which are at the highest risk of becoming quickly outdated and discarded. Companies like Hewlett-Packard are outsourcing the recycling of their returns to third parties – like Genco in Pittsburgh who’ve made a business out of both selling to salvage buyers as well as using sites like eBay to reach consumers interested in buying second-hand products or parts at heavy discount. As Walker reports:

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