A pub lets you pay your beer with old iPhones

In London, the Trade-Inn pub lets you pay for your food and beverages with electronic waste.

This pub accepts almost 14,000 electronic devices—including old iPhones—that they repair and resell afterwards or recycle if too damaged.

Spring, the company behind this project, is a new tech recirculation service that opens pods throughout England where people can drop their old tech in exchange for actual money.

So far, Spring has resold or recycled around 13,000 devices, saving almost 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and diverting more than 2 tonnes of e-waste from landfills. Moreover, the company is currently working on opening a shop that sells refurbished items only.

Why does it matter? Each year, the UK produces 1.6 million tonnes of electronic waste and is forecast to be Europe’s biggest producer by 2024. Today, much of this waste ends up in a landfill or incinerated, affecting the environment considerably.

What can we do?

  • An average adult owns around 20 unused electronic devices. Putting them back in circulation would reduce the demand for new devices and the related environmental impact. Also, sorting and reselling our old tech can be highly beneficial for our bank account.
  • Although our old laptop might no longer be enough for us, many schools, libraries, or charities might give it a new purpose. The best way to donate a computer is to reach out to a third-party organization, such as Digitunity or the World Computer Exchange.
  • Finally, cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) lets us reduce our reliance on hard drives and USB sticks to store our data, limiting the amount of e-waste we generate.

Beyond the genius marketing stunt, the Trade-Inn pub raises awareness about electronic waste and provides an easy way to give our old devices a new life.