Making Reuse Convenient – Incubating Consumer Behavior Change On Campuses

Making Reuse Convenient – Incubating Consumer Behavior Change On Campuses

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 10:00am


While talking about our Chevrolet carbon-reduction initiative at AASHE 2013 last month, we met a couple of leaders from Tradepal. We appreciate the ingenuity of people committed to finding new roads to reduce environmental impact—and making it easy to boot—so we asked them to share their story.

By Tamar Burton, Tradepal

The lesson of The Three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle helped us shape our view of the environment. America’s college students have embraced new solutions pertaining to reducing and recycling, but the area that hasn’t been addressed properly is reuse.

According to research by the NPD Group, the average U.S. household has over $7,000 worth of unused merchandise ranging from electronics and furniture; to textbooks and sporting goods. Overall, this excess merchandise accounts for $1 trillion worth of idle surplus. Think about reuse, everybody does it, right? Typically, the response given is: Yes, I promote reuse on these websites. But, probe further and inquire when they last engaged reuse, and the response is a surprisingly dated: a year ago, two years ago, or I don’t recall.

Tradepal has recognized the problem with stuff and set its mission to make reuse as easy as recycling. Its one-click technology seeks to remedy this by making reuse convenient. The platform enables users to list items in seconds, broadcast their virtual sale to friends, and seamlessly buy, sell and barter with peers. It also gamifies reuse as students are able to quantify their environmental impact through a dedicated carbon savings calculator.

Several universities including the University of Iowa have embraced the initiative to offer a simple way for students to promote reuse by launching a campus reuse network on Tradepal. Similar to Chevrolet’s Carbon Reduction Initiative, Tradepal made a commitment to action with CGI America to deploy its reuse platform to 100 college campuses and derive 20,000 metric tons of carbon savings from reuse by June 2014.

Millennials hold the key to a sustainable and resilient future. By integrating innovation on campus, higher education provides students with opportunities to determine the best methods for introducing sustainable solutions. These experiences will prove pivotal in scaling consumer behavior change beyond college campuses and into the mainstream.

CATEGORY: Environment