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Contribution of Online Trading of Used Goods to Resource Efficiency: An Empirical Study of eBay Users
Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, Hausmannstr. 9-10, 30159 Hanover, Germany
Department of Social Sciences, Institute for the Analysis of Society and Policy, Goethe-University, Robert-Mayer-Str. 5, 60054 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment, Schopenhauerstr. 26, D-14129 Berlin, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 May 2010; in revised form: 10 June 2010 / Accepted: 14 June 2010 / Published: 23 June 2010
Abstract: This paper discusses the sustainability impact (contribution to sustainability, reduction of adverse environmental impacts) of online second-hand trading. A survey of eBay users shows that a relationship between the trading of used goods and the protection of natural resources is hardly realized. Secondly, the environmental motivation and the willingness to act in a sustainable manner differ widely between groups of consumers. Given these results from a user perspective, the paper tries to find some objective hints of online second-hand trading’s environmental impact. The greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the energy used for the trading transactions seem to be considerably lower than the emissions due to the (avoided) production of new goods. The paper concludes with a set of recommendations for second-hand trade and consumer policy. Information about the sustainability benefits of purchasing second-hand goods should be included in general consumer information, and arguments for changes in behavior should be targeted to different groups of consumers.
Keywords: online marketplaces; online auctions; consumer; electronic commerce; used products; second-hand market; sustainable consumption
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Clausen, J.; Blättel-Mink, B.; Erdmann, L.; Henseling, C. Contribution of Online Trading of Used Goods to Resource Efficiency: An Empirical Study of eBay Users. Sustainability 2010, 2, 1810-1830.
Clausen J, Blättel-Mink B, Erdmann L, Henseling C. Contribution of Online Trading of Used Goods to Resource Efficiency: An Empirical Study of eBay Users. Sustainability. 2010; 2(6):1810-1830.
Clausen, Jens; Blättel-Mink, Birgit; Erdmann, Lorenz; Henseling, Christine. 2010. "Contribution of Online Trading of Used Goods to Resource Efficiency: An Empirical Study of eBay Users." Sustainability 2, no. 6: 1810-1830.