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The Green Life: Swapping Your Way to a Greener Life

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September 30, 2009

Swapping Your Way to a Greener Life

Swapping a vase

We all know that opting for secondhand goods is a effective (and inexpensive!) way to green your life. So we were curious about SwapItGreen, a nifty new site that facilitates online bartering.

Here's how it works: A point system functions as currency. You post an item on the site, assigning it a “price” in points, not dollars. Someone “buys” your item at the point value you’ve set, or bids another number. You get the points from the sale, and ship to the buyer. As the "seller," you absorb the cost of shipping -- but with the points earned from your sale, you can buy things. Money isn’t completely removed from the equation; every time you buy something, you pay a transaction fee (for example, the fee for a vintage Burberry raincoat is $1; the fee for a Dell Inspiron laptop is $15).

SwapItGreen scores green street cred because it promotes a give-and-take ethic instead of a “mine, mine, mine” mentality. The site also shows your distance from sellers so you can buy closer to home.

However, there are other, even greener ways to swap: Hosting a swap party with friends or neighbors brings the barter system down to the local level; it's also a good excuse for a social gathering. Clothing, books, backyard veggies…the swapping possibilities are endless.

Another great resource is Freecycle, the online equivalent of leaving your sofa on the street with a “FREE” sign on it. You can advertise stuff you want to offload, and get everything from canned food to furniture. Good old Craigslist also has a section for bartering, as well as a section for free stuff.

-- Année Tousseau

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