How does Liff Happens dispose of Lost & Found Items?

A very common question we get in the Lost & Found biz. Typically, followed up by… “hey can I get one of those {insert item_type}?”

Answer: If it’s not your’s your not getting it from us.

Return the stuff:

Our primary objective for found items is getting them back to the owners. We do this through a wide variety of ways but this all starts with awareness of the process. 

Found Item Catalog

We first started by listing all the found items through a website for a catalog of items. This has been very helpful for people that go looking on our partners’ websites and mobile apps for their missing stuff.

CFG Self Service Lost and Found

Outbound Messaging

Next we wanted to make the awareness a bit more proactive, we want to go out and find you. So we launched a few communication methods, like our Postcards and searching ticketing records to email & text you. 

Prevention & Pre-Loss

Next we wanted to help people avoid the experience of loss and the more proactive they are the better. So we introduced our Protect approach that lets users register important items (such as phones and keys) with the Lost & Found directly. So as items are found the owners, and their listed preferred contacts, are automatically message with info on how to recover the item. (This is pretty sweet btw)

Pre-registration example Phone

Our Philosophy: Un-returned items are a systematic failure

An unreturned item means there was a failure earlier in the system (low awareness, low accessibility, confusing process, etc.) so we take these failings and try to learn from them. How can we prevent the loss? How can we engage with consumers at the right time?

Disposing of Lost & Found Items

Even though we don’t profit from these items they still need to go somewhere. So we follow a simple decision tree outlined by these questions:

  1. Do these items pose a risk to the consumer?
  2. Can these items but used for a charitable purpose?
  3. How can we make the best environmental impact? 

Consumer Risk

Lost & Found items constitute a wide variety of item types, from the weird dentures and crutches stories you commonly see to the everyday objects a person carries, like a phone and wallet. Unfortunately, many of these items pose a significant risk to the consumer if they fell into nefarious hands (seriously you need to stop carrying around your Social Security card in your wallet, looking at you Frank).

Identifying items, like credit cards and IDs, and items with large amounts of data, such as your phone, fall under these categories so we want to ensure the end-users security by following a data coordination and destruction protocol. Essentially, items are sent to the proper organizations, for example the Social Security Administration, or are outright destroyed, the data not the phone, to protect the owner. 

Charitable Purpose

This is a fun one for Lost & Found items. Our partners get to choose any charitable organizations which we coordinate with to deliver any usable items, clothing or bags, and any recovered funds, loose money or value from remaining items. It feels good to help those in need.

Code Purple
Firefly Festival Charity 2019: Code Purple Kent County

Environmental Impact

Finally, any remaining items are recycled or deposed of in an environmentally responsible way. The most responsible way of course being those Lost & Found items reunited with the owner (no need for you to buy another iPhone 11 Sharron).

Hopefully this puts a stop to the “Hey… let me get that {insert item_type}” interaction.

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