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Contribution of Online Trading of Used Goods to Resource Efficiency: An Empirical Study of eBay Users

Author

Listed:
  • Jens Clausen

    () (Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, Hausmannstr. 9-10, 30159 Hanover, Germany)

  • Birgit Blättel-Mink

    () (Department of Social Sciences, Institute for the Analysis of Society and Policy, Goethe-University, Robert-Mayer-Str. 5, 60054 Frankfurt am Main, Germany)

  • Lorenz Erdmann

    () (Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment, Schopenhauerstr. 26, D-14129 Berlin, Germany)

  • Christine Henseling

    () (Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment, Schopenhauerstr. 26, D-14129 Berlin, Germany)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Clausen & Birgit Blättel-Mink & Lorenz Erdmann & Christine Henseling, 2010. "Contribution of Online Trading of Used Goods to Resource Efficiency: An Empirical Study of eBay Users," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(6), pages 1-21, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:6:p:1810-1830:d:8760
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    online marketplaces; online auctions; consumer; electronic commerce; used products; second-hand market; sustainable consumption;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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