This guest post comes to us from a wonderful couple we met traveling in Manizales Colombia. We had the opportunity to share a hiking adventure through the Los Nevados mountains . Even though we have said goodbye in real life, we have kept in touch through emails ever since we met. Through our travels, Miro and I have met the most wonderful people and it’s our honor to share with you here, their story of inspiration.
The cheapest and most sustainable way to travel is simply by opening a book. When I was growing up, it was through the well-loved stories on the shelves of my father’s used bookshop, that I gleamed my first look at new worlds and my longing for exploration was ignited. As a young adult, I was determined to model my life after the adventure novels that I grew up on. As a result, I found myself motor biking in Uruguay, shark diving in South Africa, hitchhiking in Transylvania and rock climbing in Laos.
However, no matter how far I got from my dad’s bookstore, the values I learned there remained intact and my passion for reuse, giving old, discarded things a second life, propelled much of my travel and, eventually, reveled my purpose.
Unlike books, I saw cellphones as a new commodity for which a culture of reuse and ethical disposal did not yet exist. As a result, billions of cellphones and other electronics were sent to landmines or remained idle, tucked away in drawers collecting dust. I set out to change this.
In 2009 I met my girlfriend, Katherine, and, on the road together, we developed the model for ExchangeMyPhone. We set about creating a business that was centered on the idea that people should be paid to do something good.
Today ExchangeMyPhone buys broken, outdated and working phones from users and then restores those that are salvageable, finds them new homes, and disposes of the others ethically. Even phones without value are recycled free of cost because ExchangeMyPhone believes e-Waste stewardship should be available to everyone. We have set our sights on making cell phone recycling as easy as returning a Netflix DVD.
I have built-up the company’s team with others who share both my love for reuse and my passion for discovering the exotic. Nothing marries the two better than the adventures of our blog; each week we delve into the reuse from all corners of the world whether its beer bottle temples in Thailand, the latest trends in French cardboard interior design, or wallpaper innovations from Buenos Aires. So come along, there are dumpsters full of possibility.
Jeremy Cohen and his girlfriend, Katherine Preston, live in Brooklyn, NY. Jeremy is the founder of ExchangeMyPhone.com and Katherine is the company’s Creative Director. Their website is a place for anyone to sell (or recycle) their old phones and their blog is full of global stories on green innovation. When they aren’t working, Jeremy and Katherine go exploring whenever they can.