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FROM: Tenzin

What NEED does this meet?
An awful lot of perfectly useable stuff is thrown away by affluent householders (and others such as industry) that could be used by those who have little or no disposable income. Shop and office refurbishment throws away huge amounts of furniture, shelving, light fittings etc that are perfectly re-useable

What is the APPROACH?
It should be possible to set up an internet database that is searchable on a local, basis such as my village/suburb, within 5 miles of etc. which contains a list of good quality but re-useable, or recycleable materials that a disposer is going to throw away. A disposer could (for free) enter details of what they have, with an expiry date, whereby each item appears in the datatbase, and is available until that date, after which the householder will dispose of the item/s in a more normal manner. Those interested in acquiring the item/s could search the database, and with appropriate security measures contact the disposer via e-mail; to arrange a mutually convenient time to view/collect the item. In otherwords a sort of e-Bay, but without bids.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Those on low income could benefit simply by having acces to such items as furniture, household goods etc, that otherwise they could not afford, also it may well be possible for individuals to set up their own small local companies based on re-using material that otherwise would have been thrown away. It could ease some of the burdens on local councils of the cost of disposing of at least some forms of household waste, and possibly even help some industries reduce the costs of waste disposal. It would also benefit the environment, simply by reducing waste.

What is the COMPETITION?
None as far as I know, though there are schemes in Holland and parts of Germany, which are I beleive operated by local councils, whereby unwanted but reasonable quality household gooods, and even surplus building materials, are colleceted up and available to be viewed and purchased at nominal prices (simply to cover the costs).

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I haven't the faintest idea, as I have absolutely no skills in programming, and equally little idea on the costs of holding such a database on servers etc. though it need not (I would have thought) be overly expensive, as inputting items to the dtabase would be done by the disposer, and deletion of items would be either automatic (at the end of the exiry period) or by the collector of the item after collection. I simply throw the idea out in the hope that someone can pick it up and put it into operation.

November 1, 2003 in Connecting People, Environmental, Giving stuff away, Helping Your Community, Matching System, Perhaps Government Remit? | Permalink


I like this idea. It is very similar to my idea further down the page (Freebay), and helps to flesh out how it could be achieved at a local level. I would like to see more than just people on low incomes gaining. How many items are thrown away because one component doesnt work. Someone else might be able to repair or reuse other parts. Whatever we need to look much more carefully at what we do with reusable waste.

Posted by: Brent Ashley at Nov 3, 2003 12:01:11 AM

This is a great idea and could really help some of the brilliant small scale recycling initiatives out there already. The one that I think is particularly impressive is Emmaus communities (in UK and France, at least - not sure about elsewhere, but you could have a search) where former homeless people recondition household goods and then sell them on at low prices to to low-income households. Web-based inventories for these organisations could really help them grow; and I think it's (arguably) better than doing it via councils.

Posted by: kate Atkinson at Nov 3, 2003 10:33:50 AM