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Upcycling trading/bartering platform

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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Jan 01, 2022
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A platform/app where people can trade unwanted items for free. No buying or selling is allowed. Only bartering. Everyone lists the items they are willing to trade, then people contact each other with offers.
Upcycling is the process of creatively reusing items or objects that you would normally recycle or throw away by transforming them into products of artistic and environmental value.
In 2009, Belinda Smith from Reuters observed that upcycling was gaining traction worldwide yet people in poorer countries were doing it out of necessity rather than for environmental reasons. By providing a platform for upcycling, it could bring convenience to those in need in an organized manner.
Many people often advocate for recycling or downcycling as the traditional methods of disposing of unwanted products. However, in some cases, such as creating secondhand clothing, upcycling is a much more viable option that not only saves cost but reduces the energy required as compared to recycling.
Upcycling can also be a form of art therapy for everyone, especially seniors or retirees, or a source of revenue for some too!
How it works
I propose a platform or app that allows people to trade unwanted items for free. (Similar to carousell) For example, an old shirt could be traded for a broken radio. Many upcycled creations require a variety of materials and ingredients, especially for clothing as can be seen in this video (which was also my inspiration for this idea). Thus, users are able to source for the products required to make their creation without spending a single cent.
The platform can also encourage users to provide "recipes" or instructions for different kinds of upcycled products. In time to come, with many users on the platform, it could also suggest ideas for users and they simply have to input whatever materials they have on hand!
Workshops could also be organized by creators who want to share their ideas and guide other people in creating them. There should also be an option who want to sell their handmade products on the site. However, the main goal of the platform should still be to facilitate free trade among users.
What are your thoughts? How can we improve upon this idea?

[1]Goldsmith, B. (2009, September 30). Trash or treasure? Upcycling becomes growing green trend. Reuters. Retrieved January 1, 2022, from https://www.reuters.com/article/smallBusinessNews/idUSTRE58T3HX20090930

Creative contributions

User points to enable buying used items in addition to trading

Povilas S
Povilas S Jan 04, 2022
Trading is difficult because you have to have something equally valuable for another person in order to get what you need from them. Therefore for someone looking for many different materials to realize their upcycling project, trading will not work well.
In addition to trading, users could simply donate used items, and by donating they'd get user points which would then allow buying some used items that others don't want to give away for free and you don't have anything to trade them off with. User points would be the local "currency" of the platform. You could get them either by donating something or by selling a used item to someone.
I'm just not sure how a donated item would be evaluated in user points. This could be done by moderators, or a person donating something could suggest how many user points they want to get by donating the item and the moderators would evaluate the item and either approve the request or suggest another reward amount. Or to make things simple all donated items could have fixed user points reward.
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie2 years ago
Hmm that is true, trading might not neccesarily be the best way about. However, I would argue that the benefit is that the value of the particular item is ascribed by the person trading. Since everyone requires different items for their own creation, it means that a unwanted piece of clothing from person A could mean a lot to person B. The value of the item is thus subjective(this is basically bartering).
I like the idea of a currency as mentioned by you and the push for donations instead. Definitely, there would be a section of the platform dedicated to donations only, where users can give away their items for free. That being said, I think as what you mentioned in the last paragraph, it is difficult to evaluate the value of a particular item. If you get the moderators to approve the value of the said item, it means that they decide on behalf of the user. Say I have a really expensive piece of clothing that I have no use for and want to give away for free, but the moderators decide that it is worth a certain amount. This means the person buying has to sacrifice more for what could potentially be free(vice versa they could also sacrifice less in other scenarios).
I believe it comes down to whether you want the value of items to be cast in stone by the moderators(who evaluate the user points) or the users themselves.
At the end of the day, I hope that the drive behind this platform is through kindness and altruism rather than other monetary incentives. Ideally, I would want the platform to be free of charge, without having users to worry about spending a single cent on their creation. Perhaps, the best way forward, could be to encourage people to donate their items for free and in return they gain some form of monetary incentives or even tools that can help in their upcycling process such as glue guns. Or maybe, money can be used as a form of currency where users decide themselves how much they want to sell their items for but then that would mean that the platform would no longer be "free" in that sense. What do you think?
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Moderators wouldn't price those items that users are willing to give away for free, they would only ascribe user points to those that the user wants a certain reward for. Moderation is only to make sure that the pricing of certain items in user points is reasonable, moderators wouldn't decide which items are to be priced, users would do this. A user could either give an item for free or trade it or sell it for user points. The items that cost some user points could also be traded if the other user had something worthy to trade it for.
Implementing user points wouldn't make any user spend anything (any real money). The platform would still be free. You'd get user points (=local platform's currency which you can only use on that platform) by donating items for free, then with those points, you could buy some item that the other user doesn't want to give you for free and you don't have anything valuable enough for that user to trade it for. So the concept remains based on altruism.
To make it even more altruistic, there could be a rule that you first have to give something for free to earn some user points, you can't earn them by pricing your items and selling to others, there could be a certain amount of user points you have to gain by donating the items to start pricing your stuff in user points, there could also be a time limit to how long you can "sell" your items for user points, after that you'd have to donate something again to earn them.
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie2 years ago
Povilas S I see, so user points are the only currency on the platform. Do correct me if I am wrong but you state that the moderators are there to make sure the pricing of certain items is resonable, wouldn't that mean that they still get to ascribe the value to that particular object? Basically, the user suggest a certain amount, but the moderators get to have the final say. Eg if I want to sell this radio for 30 user points, the moderators could deem it too expensive. I am curious to know what the moderators will compare the user points to, meaning to say how will they decide if an item is too expensive or cheap?
Actually, while writing this reply, I kind of realized that moderation might not really be necessary. Carousell(a similar platform) actually does not have moderators for items listed by users. Even though money is used, instead what the platform does is that it suggests prices of similar items. Eg if you are selling a slipper, it will lists similar slippers listed by other users. That way, sellers get to decide the value of their item against the consensus of the market(other users). Another thing that can be implemented similarly is an option to indicate whether the item is new or used which will thus affect the pricing.
I think the rule is a great idea to get the ball rolling. Perhaps there can be many different ways to earn user points too. You can earn it by donating for free, receving likes on your listing, or even by obtaining good reviews(5 stars) from buyers.
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