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chargers and cords exchange box

This box is designed for a drop-off for cords and chargers and to be placed in local stores and shops. People can bring in their chargers for their old phones or cords that they no longer need to drop them off at the box for others who may need them.

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Written by DeletedUser

Through our survey, we found out that most people have more than one old or broken phone they keep at home. It made us wonder what people do with their chargers and cords for their broken electronics. Inspired by IKEA's Missing a Part shelf (See image 2), our team came up with this cord-and-charger exchange program idea. We found this idea suitable for some local coffee shops that functionmore like a community, such as Cafe Paradiso (see image 3), where you can find items created by local artists for sale.

How does your concept safeguard human health and protect our environment?

This concept is very simple yet it creates an opportunity for the community to be "green" in an easy way. Fewer cords and chargers will end up in our landfill when they are still in working condition. This solution also avoids the purchase of new chargers when people lost their own ones.

Where does your concept fit into the lifecycle of electronic devices?

This concept encourages consumers to change their recycling behavior, giving them a convenient and simple place to recycle products in their own communities. It also encourages them to change their purchase behavior, giving them a free option to purchasing new cords/chargers/adapters when they need one, which can help reduce the e-waste that end up in landfills.

What steps could be taken today to start implementing your concept?

UPDATE: We have been in contact with Cafe Paradiso and they are interested in piloting our solution! Inspired, we dug down and tried to articulate the value and appeal of our solution to local businesses like Cafe Paradiso. Please see Image 4 above for our business and scaling model. In this model, we have "pivoted" from our initial concept of a charger exchange box to a charger borrowing box. In this view cafes, for example, would be providing a service to their customers who do not want to bring chargers to the cafe, or who may have forgotten theirs at home. The value proposition to these businesses is the potential to bring in more customers and to keep customers at the shop for longer periods of time. What we would provide then is a simple, attractive, well-organized box integrated into a larger system. For example, the box would ship with stickers the cafes could display on their windows for advertising the new service. We would also serve as a place businesses could ship extra chargers for a recycling kickback or for repair. Pricing and cost structure could either be some sort of markup per box, or a rental model, where businesses pay either a flat fee or a percentage of whatever sales increases could be attributed to the charger box (we could provide these metrics as a service). Almost all of these aspects of the model currently stand as hypotheses that we would work to validate and iterate on in partnership with Cafe Paradiso and other small businesses in our community.

What kinds of resources will be needed to fully implement and scale your concept?

Our team is able to take this concept to manufacture stage without spending any cost on human resource. We also think that collection boxes can be made out of recyclable material, such as cardboard boxes, to enhance the effectiveness of the design. After the concept is well designed, we will need funding to manufacture the boxes and places to display these boxes. After the boxes are installed, our team is also able to take care of the advertising part using the various talents available in DFA UIUC community.

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. How much of a social or environmental impact will this concept have on discarded electronics or e-waste?

This concept could have significant social or environmental impact. - 28.6%

It's unclear how much social or environmental impact this concept will have. - 71.4%

This concept would have little social or environmental impact. - 0%

2. How well does this concept help you or others understand how electronic items are designed, built, reused, recycled or thrown away?

Very well: it makes the entire electronics life cycle easier to understand. - 0%

Pretty well: it could help people better understand the electronics life cycle but it needs more detail or information. - 57.1%

Not so well: it does not significantly help people better understand the electronics life cycle. - 42.9%

3. How appealing do you believe this concept would be to investors (businesses, banks, lenders, venture capitalists and others)?

Very appealing: this is an idea that investors would get excited about. - 28.6%

Potentially appealing: more work is needed to flesh out how the concept works, what it would cost and who would fund it. - 57.1%

Not so appealing: this does not seem like a concept that would get investors excited. - 14.3%

4. How challenging would it be to implement and scale this concept across geographies, cultures and languages? (Hint: think about resources like money, time, partnerships, or other inputs needed for implementation and scaling)

Not very challenging. - 14.3%

Somewhat challenging. - 71.4%

Very challenging. - 14.3%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world. - 14.3%

I liked it but preferred others. - 71.4%

It didn't get me overly excited. - 14.3%

Attachments (1)


Charger box business model


Join the conversation:

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Great concept, DFA! I can really see this concept taking off and developing into a sophisticated exchange system. I understand that this is only the start-up phase so my points are out of scope; however, I wanted to share them so you can keep them in mind during your refinement stage. If you can consider some of these point, then future growth may come more naturally as the boxes and number of chargers/cords grow:

-An electronic inventory system to keep track of the type of charger/cord. People can search by charger/code type or by the product that they are looking to find a cord/charger for (e.g. Galaxy S3 phone, the boxes may not contain any charger for the S3 but they have an S2, which can work). A few of these computers can be set-up around the area. (I know this is looking way down the line).

-The inventory list should also show the location (i.e. the box number)

In the mean time. I think looking into the design, structure, and organization of the box can be helpful before implementation.

-The optimal box shape and size should be determined through testing and specially designed to hang or organize all the cords/chargers to avoid tangling and to facilitate easy retrieval.

-It would be beneficial to have portal boxes so you can build them up when inventory increases or switch them around based on the environment or when inventory decreases.

Hope this helps!

Photo of DeletedUser


Thank you Amy! Some really great ideas!

Photo of Fei Xin

Great idea! I agree with your point " An electronic inventory system to keep track of the type of charger/cord. People can search by charger/code type or by the product that they are looking to find a cord/charger for (e.g. Galaxy S3 phone, the boxes may not contain any charger for the S3 but they have an S2, which can work). A few of these computers can be set-up around the area. (I know this is looking way down the line)." So it will benefit for people, I hope it can be implement as soon as possible. I am looking forward to know more informations about that.

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