Barter papers for books

Barter papers for books

Barter papers for books

Used2Useful, a start-up founded by Girish Reddy, does exactly what its name implies: it lets people barter old newspapers for new books. The two-year-old business operates from Ramamurthy Nagar, and if you live around there, it even offers to bring this exchange to your doorstep. 

Girish, after working in the real estate and accounting fields, decided to turn entrepreneur and raise awareness about papers recycling. “Even as children, my sisters and I faced problems with recycling; we didn’t know whom to give it to,” he says.

 So every kilo of newspaper you hand over to the start-up fetches you a small amount, and you can pick a book from the catalogue on the Used2Useful website in exchange.

“If you want a book that isn’t listed, we can usually get it from one of the many distributors in Bengaluru a day after we are notified,” he says. If the title is not available in the city, it could take a couple of days longer, he adds.

Some exchanges also involve cash. He explains: “If you bring 10 kg of newspaper (the rates vary by a rupee or two for notebooks and magazines), it’s worth Rs 90. If the book you want is Rs 120, you pay an additional Rs 30. If it’s Rs 80, we give you Rs 10.”

Currently, the start-up has close to 300 regular customers, including residents of about 60 apartments, according to Girish. Some simply want to ensure their ‘raddi’ is put to the best possible use and want neither books nor money in exchange.“Most of the paper from such customers are handed over to a few women from underprivileged backgrounds we have a tie-up with,” he says. “They make paper bags for us, which about 20 shops in Ramamurthy Nagar buy, thanks to the plastic ban.”

The rest of the recyclable paper Girish and his staff receive are driven to a vendor who undertakes recycling in bulk.

At present, Used2Useful undertakes pick-ups and deliveries within a 10 km radius of its office. “We make an exception for apartments and customers who get in touch with us in groups of eight or more. Otherwise, transport becomes a problem,” he says.“We have been getting calls from across Bengaluru and even other cities,” he says. “We want to expand, but we need funds to do that.”

Girish also wants to make titles in more languages available to customers. “Now, we have English, which is the most popular, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. We are in talks with distributors of Malayalam, Hindi and Gujarati books.”

A bibliophile, he also takes pleasure in recommending books, especially to youngsters. “We also do a lot of campaigns to increase awareness about recycling and other green practices in schools, and I tell students which leadership and motivational books are likely to help them.”

But demand is usually highest for fiction, he adds. “For young kids, we have tiny books about greats like Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi,” he offers.

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