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Auto Recyclers – what can you do with unwanted key fobs?

J.J. Feregrino, President of We Buy Key Fobs, based in the US, talks about the service his company can provide auto recyclers when it comes to recycling unwanted key fobs.


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J.J. Feregrino

Back in 2011, I was working at a car dealership selling used vehicles. The dealership I worked with was one of the first locally to sell vehicles online. While working here, I noticed our buyers would be disappointed when they’d only receive one key fob. I couldn’t get this out of my head. I knew there was a problem here, but we just couldn’t justify addressing it because it seemed so small in the grand scheme of things. So I dropped it.

But then one day, I found a box of about fifty key fobs collecting dust in a back office. I asked my boss about them. He told me they belonged to old vehicles and that he’d meant to throw them out. The dealership didn’t have a use for them, so I asked if I could take them home. My boss agreed.

See, since I had experience selling vehicles online, I had this crazy idea to make a little side cash by doing the same with used key fobs. I knew someone somewhere had to have a use for them. I thought maybe they could even reprogram the remotes to work with a different vehicle. Either way, it beat letting them pollute the planet in some landfill. So I listed the fobs on eBay and within a couple of weeks, they’d all been sold.

I could see that this idea of recycling key fobs had potential. So I posted an ad on Craigslist offering to buy old car keys. And from then on, my side hustle to earn a little extra cash grew to be my primary income source. Since the start of this venture, I’ve managed to recycle over 1.5 million key fobs.

Eventually, I split the two sides of the business into their own brands. We Buy Key Fobs is the purchasing side. And since businesses often have more access to old key fobs, we tend to do business with automotive companies. Auto recyclers make the largest contributions.

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Auto recyclers have the most opportunities to find old, unwanted key fobs. And because of this, it’s no surprise that they usually end up with the largest payouts when selling their keys to us.

When I realised this, my first thought was, “How can I help educate more automotive recyclers on the benefits of selling recyclable key fobs?”

Well, the collecting part wasn’t hard. It turns out when you’re in an industry that’s all about recycling as much of a vehicle as humanly possible, you’re not likely to throw something away that could be worth some money.

No, the hard part was convincing auto recyclers that collecting and selling their key fobs was worth their time. It’s no secret that you’re going to make more money from the more major parts of a vehicle.

But the amount of work that goes into pulling those larger parts is a lot harder than the work it takes to toss a key fob into a bucket. It doesn’t take much time to start a key fob collection, especially if you’re already giving the vehicle a once over (plus, the idea of keeping as much of a vehicle alive as possible is just satisfying).

Even the selling process is easy. If you’re in Canada or the US, all you have to do is dump your key fobs in a box and ship them to us. We even provide free shipping, so you don’t have to worry about losses.

It’s crazy how such a small part of a vehicle can be so big, isn’t it? If you aren’t already, please consider recycling your key fobs. We’re all aware of the danger they pose to our environment, and if you’re going to make some money for your effort, why not give it a shot?

Check out our website at to learn more about how you can benefit from keeping key fobs out of landfills and in the pockets of those who need them.