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  • Writer's pictureAlizée CCM

How to recycle your used electronics with Aihuishou 爱回收?

Aihuishou (爱回收) is the largest electronics recycling company in China. Since its founding in 2011, it has grown to recycle 10 million second hand electronic devices in 2018. Today we are going to show you what they are all about and how to use their services.

Aihuishou was born in a wave of recycling start-ups in 2011. At first, it had trouble gaining traction because people were not used to selling their used devices to a recycler. It then started building brick-and-mortar stores to facilitate customers’ experience. In Shanghai, there are over 40 of these service centers.

Apart from these service centers, they have installed ‘cellphone ATM’ machines across China, where you can finalize the recycling buyback and get paid on your online account immediately. You can also ship the device via kuaidi or have Aihuishou send someone to pick up the device. A variety of ways to expedite the process has persuaded more consumers to try their service.

Another concern that makes consumers hesitant to have their devices recycled is data privacy. To break this barrier, Aihuishou utilizes Blancco, a technology trusted to deliver a thorough data wipe-out, after which the data are impossible to restore.

China has comparable smartphone penetration rates to the US, but only 5% gets recycled, versus 48% that gets recycled in the US. On the other hand, Chinese consumers tend to upgrade their phones more frequently, getting a new one every 18 months on average, versus the 32 months in the US.

Aihuishou is looking to leverage its dominance in a large market to expand overseas. Due to changing consumer trends and differing tastes in each country, there are opportunities to arbitrage between markets. Aihuishou is building a global network of recycling companies by investing in similar start-ups in other countries.

How do we use their service? First go to their website or mobile app, where you can get a quote for your device based on a short list of click-through questions.

At the end of questions, they show you 4 ways to send in your device: mail, pick-up, service center, and the cellphone ATM. Cellphone ATM’s only work with cellphones.

A Cellphone ATM (source: Aihuishou website)

At the service center, a technician will inspect the device and confirm the online quote in 15min. Once you’ve sent in your device via mail or pick-up, you will get a notice of the confirmation too. At this point, you can either accept the final quote and they transfer the amount to your account, or you can decline the final quote and have them send back the device.

Of course, it’s better for the environment and ourselves to refuse and reduce first. It’s simply not sustainable that everyone should get a new cellphone every 18 months. But for a device that has had its days and is unusable, let’s declutter and recycle away. You can find all of Aihuishou’s service center locations in the middle of this page:

How was your experience with Aihuishou? Share in comments below!

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