Thursday, July 19, 2007

Save some green while being green

Over a year ago, I was introduced to the world of free trading. You post on a group (either a newsgroup or a forum board) to either give away stuff to someone else who could use it, or you can request stuff that you've been looking for. This is highly successful; it keeps items that are still in good working condition from landing in the, well, landfills. Plus, users get stuff for free, potentially saving lots of money. I found a web site called Switch Planet, and in my opinion, it's recycling done right.

Switch Planet offers the same service as other trade/recycling groups. However SP is a much bigger venture in that not only can members use the main site to list their owned and wanted goods, they can communicate with other members and site admins via the forums and SP Blog.

Here's how it works: Member #1 has listed all of his items that he wants to give away. He also makes a list of all the items he wants. Member #2 is looking for an item that Member #1 has. She wants to trade with #1. #2 uses her "switchbucs" to "pay" #1 for his item, and gives him her mailing address. Member #1 gets paid SP's mock currency that can be used to "pay" for an item that he wants in the future. With "switchbucs" there's no need for the same people to trade with each other.

The value of SP's currency varies each day, but members can easily keep track with the value of their goods with the "switchbucs calculator". Members can calculate their items' worth by comparing prices with Amazon's prices for new items. This is highly useful, and looks like fun. Never thought that a trading site would have it's own "economy", did ya?

Switch Planet's main site lists a lot of items for trade, and is more organized than any other trading/recycling group. Don't bother coming here for large items like appliances or large electronics though; for that I say stick with a group like Freecycle. Switch Planet offers the trading of DVDs, CDs, Video Games, and Books (software, baby, yeah!). These things can be easily and inexpensively shipped to members. As a matter of fact, Switch Planet doesn't charge its members anything for trading with one another.

The whole [successful] point of SP is for perfectly good movies, games, music, and books to find new homes when their owners don't want them anymore. It's great, it works, and it's saving the planet.

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7/24/2007 3:15 PM  

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