Internet Creates Market
For Many Recycled Goods
CHICAGO - One hundred and fifty years ago, the Chicago Board of Trade started a cash market for grain by making it easier for buyers and sellers to find each other.
Now the board and others are doing the same thing for recyclables, this time via the Internet. "It's just another way for the people who are selling and the people who are buying to connect with each other," says Dave Bedore, manager of the board.
The Environmental Protection Agency started the search for a solution to the accumulating stock of recyclable materials in 1995, says Bedore, and was then joined by the Chicago Board of Trade, the National Recycling Center, the Clean Washington Center and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Both buyers and sellers in the on-line Recyclables Exchange pay a one-time $10 fee to register with the program. Sellers, who may be cities, local trash haulers, or manufacturers who produce scrap and "leftovers," post a listing on the Internet site indicating what they have to sell. Each listing costs $2 per month.
Buyers post what is called a "buy parameter" indicating what they want to purchase. Those buyer listings are free.
Bedore cites an example. "There are buyers of recyclable PET plastic containers who may use the material to build park benches."
The advantage of the Internet program is the automatic connection made between buyer and seller. "If there's a match, the system e-mails the buyer immediately," says Bedore. For each match, the buyer pays an additional 50¢.
"There are currently 296 users and 200 listings on the system of materials available, everything from paper to car batteries," says Bedore. "The users include mom-and-pop operations as well as large corporations and manufacturers. This being in the Internet, it's a world market."
Posted October 22, 1997