LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A college student appalled at the dorm furnishings his roommates were leaving behind his freshman year has started a booming business recycling mini refrigerators.
Mitch Newlin, of Brunswick, Maine, goes to Bates College, a private, liberal arts college in Lewiston, Maine, about 35 miles north of Portland. The 22-year-old buys dorm refrigerators at the end of the school year and sells them to incoming students the next year.
His company, Re-Fridge, has branched out to a total of 17 colleges in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts and expects to collect more than $70,000 in revenues this year, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Now a junior majoring in economics, Newlin hires students at the other colleges to pick up and deliver the refrigerators, capitalizing on the convenience to the customers.
At the end of his freshman year, Newlin says he hauled his roommates’ left-behind fridges and furniture home and stored them in his parents’ basement in Brunswick while he mulled over his business plan.
“There had to be a way to prevent this stuff from being thrown out and recycled to a new owner,” he said.
He polled fellow Bates students on Facebook about what they would be willing to sell at the end of the school year to avoid items going into landfills and being fined $50 by the college for leaving items behind. He said 50 people approached him and told them he could have their refrigerators, and Re-Fridge became a reality.
Now he uses social media to recruit his employees and market the refrigerators.