Money to be made from discarded products

Flaws in reverse supply chains, shop inventories, range upgrades and product end of life have allowed some ‘dumpster divers’ to earn $60,000 a year from reselling or repurposing discarded items, according to a report in Wired.

In 2006 security expert Matt Malone began supplementing his primary income by selling products that he found in dumpsters belonging to some of America’s biggest retailers – everything from electronics such as stereos and printers to consumables like paper and building materials.

In most cases the products are in working condition can be immediately resold, with others needing some basic repairs or cleaning. And while the term ‘dumpster diving’ may conjure images of low-value waste, some high-end items such as cameras and flat-screen TVs have been disposed of still in their packaging, and therefore sold on at their original retail price. Malone predicts that he could make over $250,000 a year from this practice if he took it on as his primary source of income.

Matt Malone’s story reinforces the claim that there is significant economic potential in discarded products. Customer returns, discontinued product lines and businesses undergoing relocation or remodelling result in material leakage points within today’s flawed linear economy, which creates large amounts of waste at every stage of the manufacturing, sales and consumption process.

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