Emma Ash, Co-founder at YoungPlanet: Keeping Children’s Toys Out Of Landfill

YoungPlanet is an app which helps to find new homes for toys and children’s goods that would otherwise sit unused gathering dust or worse, go to landfill. The main focus is on helping families to reduce waste and become more environmentally conscious. But it also helps parents receive high-quality things for their kids for free, which can be of huge help to many families, especially at the moment.

The app works by providing a ‘cashless’ platform based on a sharing economy model. Parents can list or request a range of different children’s items; from books and clothes to toys and baby equipment. If more than one person wants the same item, the app uses a gamification system to prioritise those who need them most or have donated more items in the past – incentivizing a circular system of giving.




How did you come up with the idea for the company?


The inspiration for YoungPlanet came to us when we were living in America. We went to a yard sale and our son fell in love with a bright red Radio Flyer truck. He was so enamoured with it that the seller decided to give it to him for free, pleased that someone else would find so much joy in something his son had previously owned. This experience coupled with a friend sharing that a few years ago, she resorted to putting her children’s toys in the skip because “it was the easiest option” sparked the idea in us for a marketplace that made it simple and efficient for busy parents to pass on much-loved toys and children’s stuff, rather than adding these items to already overburdened landfill.

Many eco-friendly toys often come with a higher price tag, so for parents, it’s not a case of wanting or not wanting to do the right thing: it comes down to whether they can afford to. That’s what doesn’t sit right with us. There shouldn’t be a financial barrier to wanting to do good. And so YoungPlanet is something people can use to do their bit for the environment, which also makes their lives easier.

It was mine and Jason’s combined motivation to try and build something that would help families and help the planet that truly drove us to make YoungPlanet happen. We wanted to create an app that would help society, and ultimately make it easier for others to help their communities.



What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?


My advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs would always be to have confidence in yourself. I know so many women who are fantastic at what they do but experience the dreaded imposter syndrome. Don’t listen to the negative voice in your head, and always trust your gut instinct.

 One of the greatest tools you will have as your own boss is being able to be flexible with what you do; fit your work around your life, not fit your life around work.


What can we hope to see from Young Planet in the future?


We hope to make toy-swapping the go-to option a priority because it benefits everyone. We want to help people save money and declutter without feeling guilty about their items going into landfill. There is also a great deal of satisfaction to be had in seeing something that was not being used doing what it’s supposed to do with another family – the simple joy of giving is often overlooked, and because we are free to use it makes it easier to do.

The app has around 35,000 users and a brilliant, cooperative community. We hope that YoungPlanet can eventually be enjoyed by a global audience so that everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of a sharing economy model. Immediately, our aim is that the YoungPlanet community will continue to grow and help more families!