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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Technology Can Help With That

Jennifer Bosavage
October 22, 2019

2 minute read

Reduce, reuse, recycle is the current-day mantra of households worldwide. According to ReuseThisBag.com, if just 5 PET (plastic) bottles are recycled, they will have provided enough fiberfill for an entire ski jacket. Here are a number of technology-enabled ways that can stretch the lifecycle of products from vintage clothing, to eclectic furniture, to an old foosball table.

Facebook Marketplace

There comes a time in many people’s lives when storing that ping pong table becomes less important than providing a guest room for visiting grandchildren. Or when one party of an engaged couple proclaims that Danish Modern makes her skin crawl and that living room must hit the road, pronto.

Facebook Marketplace offers a new option. It’s a platform on which users can arrange to buy, sell, and trade items with other people in their area. The transactions take place outside of Facebook, but users must have Facebook accounts. Built as a peer-to-peer platform, Marketplace lets anyone list a product and connect with a larger swath of potential customers in their area, and purchases on are transacted through Messenger.

Nextdoor

Sometimes the grass does seem greener on your neighbor’s side—but one man’s junk is another one’s treasure. Nextdoor is an app that helps neighbors connect, stay informed, as well as sell and recommend goods and services. It’s similar to Facebook Marketplace, but items that are for sale may be intermingled with available services or even notices of local events. Users select topics of interest and they appear in the “news feed.”

Nextdoor is hyperlocal; the information is organized by neighborhoods. That’s particularly beneficial for someone selling a substantially large item, such as a car, appliance, furniture, etc. The platform makes it easy to post any number of items such as a large sofa that has been barely used or the enormous well-loved playhouse that still has a few years left. Neighbors can simply pop over to see if the offering is to their taste without wasting travel time if the deal falls through.

thredUP

thredUP is an online thrift shop that is at least partly responsible for the overall growth in thrift shopping. By selling only goods that meet a high-quality standard, it attracts customers who traditionally shop for new clothing. Additionally, thredUP promotes buying secondhand as a socially responsible decision. According to a 2019 thredUP report, about 1 in 3 women have shopped or are willing to shop secondhand; 56 million women bought secondhand products in 2018, up from 44 million in 2017. Thrifting is particularly attractive to Millennials and Gen Z, who are known for eco-conscious habits — the thredUP study reports that “74% of 18-24 year prefer to buy from sustainably-conscious brands”.

How does it work? Customers pack up their good-quality women’s and kids’ clothing, as well as handbags, shoes, and accessories and send them to thredUP to earn shopping credit for accepted items. What is deemed unacceptable quality is responsibly recycled, according to the website.

Today’s recycling is all about reuse and repurposing. Technology at consumers’ fingertips makes the reduce-reuse-recycle flow a reality — not to mention creates new streams of revenue.

Jennifer Bosavage
Jennifer Bosavage
Jennifer Bosavage is a Connecticut native and has been writing about technology since the fax machine debuted. While Jen has covered IT, retail, and customer satisfaction for many years, she also has an undercover history as a Secret Shopper.
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