Rob Walker [he of New York Times and Murketing fame] has a very interesting piece in Sunday's New York Times Magazine [which is available online on Friday ... which for some reason pleases me to no end] in which he discusses the "rejected-product economy" - you know, all of the stuff we return [Walker claims, "By one estimate, we return $100 billion worth of products annually."].
What fascinates me is that an industry exists with the sole purpose of monetizing returned merchandise. Walker points to one example ...
"Much of this process is usually jobbed out to third-party specialists like Genco, which is based in Pittsburgh. Genco has 48 centers where thousands of specialists sort through returned merchandise in most every consumer category. Curtis Greve, an executive vice president at the company, explains that some of the things it handles go to wholesale salvage buyers or merchants abroad who buy by the pallet or truckload, and others flow to consumers willing to buy used products via eBay or other vendors"
Full article here.