I KIND OF LIKE TO THINK WE’RE ALL RECYCLED: recycled by our very nature of being—think genetics, heredity, nucleotides, Mendelian inheritance, those determinate X and Y chromosomes, perhaps toss in and simmer the second law of thermodynamics, etc., etc. Therefore recycling, or finding new life for existing things, is as right and natural as drawing breath. From there it’s a simple step from what we normally think of as recycling to consumer-oriented services like eBay and its Green Team “inspiring the world to buy, sell and think green every day.”

eBay’s Earth Day-conscious Green Team, not one to miss such an opportunity, has launched a “Green Team Challenge” now through Earth Day, April 22—in case you missed it, this year is Earth Day’s fortieth anniversary. So yep, we’re talking consumerism, albeit “reduced,” the buying and selling of used, refurbished or vintage merchandise (as eBay puts it, “the greenest product is often the one that already exists”).

This is internet-enabled activity, certainly, to generate profit, but it also encompasses the idea of recycling, of consuming less of what’s new, making do with what’s already out there and that, in turn, gets us in a nice low-impact “spin cycle.” Thrift stores of all varieties do it, craigslist does it and the one I’m most behind, Freecycle, does it with its heart clearly in the right place. Corporate green teams have been growing in popularity the last few years (eBay’s started in 2007), and it’s certainly a huge green positive to see such (often) grassroots ventures continue to gain footholds, spark employee and community involvement, and expand company initiatives and enterprisewide practices.

eBay’s Green Team Challenge is to get their customers “to reuse what exists in the world, and we’ll do our part to make your impact come to life.” eBay has joined with Team Earth to protect three rainforests in the Congo, Brazil and Mexico, promising to protect an acre in each customer’s name who takes the challenge (plus, there’s an added pecuniary incentive and prize drawings). Information and slideshows for each of the rainforests are on the Green Team Challenge website to aid in voting. The challenge, in essence then, is an acknowledgement of self-agreendisement, of Yeah, I want to do the right thing and make use of what’s already out there, and I want others to know about it and get involved, too.

“Selling green makes sense,” the eBay Green Team site says—absolutely true!—and necessary now more than ever—in so many ways. It’s like going to the head of the class and shouting, “Let’s make every day Earth Day!”—and if only it were so simple to share this sentiment globally. But hitting eBay’s 90-million-plus active users, via the Green Team Challenge, certainly doesn’t hurt. Recycle that thought next time you’re in search of, say, vintage Hamm’s or Schlitz barware or a sturdy babystroller with low miles and a tiny footprint.

Allen

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