Auctioning trash for cash

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“You can buy and sell almost anything on eBay” might as well be eBay’s unofficial tag line, but another site has taken it literally and dedicated themselves to selling rubbish. Waste Producer Exchange (WPE) have set up an auction site specifically to trade in waste between buyers and sellers in the South East of England.

The European Pathway to Zero Waste (EPOW) is a three-year European demonstration programme running until 31 March 2013. The South East of England was chosen as a research area as it has the highest landfill incidences of construction, demolition, commercial and industrial waste in England.

The idea is that anyone with waste to dispose of can list it on the WPE site making it available to buyers. Interested buyers pay for the waste and when they pick up they give a collection number to the seller. This collection number releases the funds from WPE into the buyers bank account. Cost is a flat 2.5% of the sale price.

It’s a neat idea, and certainly makes a difference from the regular marketplaces we’re used to trading on. It also meets my long held belief that there’s no point trying to out-eBay eBay. If you want to compete with eBay then it needs to be niche and non-competitive marketplace and certainly WPE meet these criteria for success.

If you’re generating a lot of waste and want to learn how to make money from it, as opposed to paying for it to be disposed of, then WPE have a number of training days across the South East in the first half of July.

8 Responses

  1. I saw an article a while ago that suggested that it could become financially worthwhile to “Mine” old filled in Rubbish Dumps for the materials that we used to throw away.

    After all years ago before ‘recycling, re-use and replace’ all sorts of materials used to be thrown away without a thought. Somewhere I have a Book on Electric Dustcarts that used to be used in some areas before, during and for a few years after World War II. In there there is a table of statistics of the materials that were salvaged from the rubbish before it was put into the incinerators(that provided the heat that generated the electricity that charged the batteries in the Dustcarts)

    It was astonishing what was salvaged, including Gold, from the rubbish streams. In other areas all this went to Landfill so these materials could be sitting there awaiting “mining”. So why should we be surprised that rubbish today might haver a value.

  2. A couple of years ago I saw the Site Foreman about having some pallets and branches from trees that they were cutting back. The Foreman was so pleased to get rid of it all(and save having to hire in so many skips at £many each that he had loaded his digger and delivered them all round to my house. There was more than enough to keep my wood burner going all winter and delivered free of charge to my frontdoor.

    Remember the Site Foreman has a budget for Skips. If he can save so many skips by giving away such as pallets, surplus bricks and other materials that he would only dump it saves on his budget and helps his position if he is over budget elsewhere.

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