Who’s Feimayi (飞蚂蚁)?
In recent years, a wave of entrepreneurs have emerged in China, whose businesses are providing new solutions to some of the toughest social and environmental problems we are facing.
Today we are going to talk about one of them- Feimayi (飞蚂蚁).
Feimayi was founded in 2014 by Ma Yun (not to be confused with Jack Ma). Their initial business was to recover used clothes in residential compounds. That model did not gain traction.
New business model
After a series of setbacks, they figured out a model that would work- use Wechat as a platform where users can request a clothes pick-up, and redeem Huanbaodous (credits used in transactions on Feimayi’s Wechat platform) they have earned with their clothes donations for items on the Wechat platform. According to their Wechat platform, Feimayi also pick up home appliances, books, and used cell phones for recycling.
What happens to the recovered clothes? According to Feimayi’s website, volunteers will sort them based on whether they are in conditions suitable for donations. If they are to be donated, Feimayi will send them on clothes drives with other charity organizations; if they are not suitable for donation, Feimayi will sort them based on material, disinfect, and pack them to be used by factories, where they are repurposed into backpacks, industrial soundproof materials, filling materials, non-woven clothes, etc.
Users can also put unwanted items on Feimayi’s Wechat platform with a corresponding price in terms of Huanbaodous, and gain Huanbaodous on their account when another user purchases the item with their own Huanbaodous. Besides encouraging sharing items that would otherwise lie unused, this system also encourages clothes donations by providing attractive items to spend the earned Huanbaodous on.
During our research, we noted that Feimayi uses a segment of their Wechat platform for a number of charity programs. Through these programs, users are able to purchase farm produce directly from farmers, and donate items or earned Huanbaodous to specific charity projects.
Let’s discard clothes responsibly
To donate clothes to Feimayi, you simply need to schedule a pick-up with them on either their website or Wechat platform. Please be informed that you’d need to wash the clothes carefully and pack them according to their specifications before the pick-up. While they take all types of clothes, children’s winter coats make the most popular donations.
Last but not least, it’s important to remind ourselves that recycling is not the whole solution because of the costs incurred in the process. Let’s say no to unnecessary clothing consumption- buy less, buy quality.
Have you used Feimayi before? What was your experience like? Do you have other means to dispose of old clothes responsibly? Share in comments below!
Please follow Feimayi’s offical Wechat account here.