How to Run an Awesome Barter Exchange for Earth Day
Saving money and being environmentally friendly don’t have to be mutually exclusive events. Any time you can cut down on waste, there’s a good chance you’re going to save money. That holds true for corporations and individuals.
I feel so strongly about this topic that I’ve written an entire eco-friendly savings series in the hopes that at least a few of you out there will latch on to an idea and do your own small part to reduce your impact on the planet.
Earth Day is April 22. This year, for Earth Day, I wanted to share an idea that I heard for the first time this year. I can’t take credit for this brilliant idea, someone at my workplace is orchestrating it. Whether they devised it or heard about it elsewhere doesn’t really matter. I thought I’d pay it forward in the hopes that a few of you out there give it a shot.
Earth Day Barter Exchange
Certainly, you can iterate off this basic structure and make it your own, but hopefully this provides a good framework:
- Everyone brings in 5 items to whomever is orchestrating the event, the week of.
- Each item gets a coupon. You could even classify items on a point scale by their perceived value.
- Save an hour or two for the exchange on Earth Day.
- People come in, use their coupons to purchase stuff they will use.
- Anything that doesn’t get purchased gets donated to a local charity or two.
- Drug people on the way out and turn them into tree-hugging hippie warriors.
You could also do other fun things like:
- Make environmentally friendly vegetarian and organic foods and have a potluck.
- Have local environmentally focused charities come in to speak and share their mission.
- Have battery, light bulb, and electronic recycling stations.
- Run an energy savings workshop.
OK, they sound fun to me…
Why I Love this Idea
If you haven’t seen the Story of Stuff before, give it a watch. Our consumer driven buy, throw out, repeat cycle is not only irresponsible and horrible for the planet, but it’s a huge drain on our finances and on our mental psyche. Recycling is a step in the right direction, but the biggest impact is through reusing and reducing your overall usage in the first place.
Having an event that everyone can get excited about and freely share your things with others and charity is a great way to bring awareness to re-using things. After all, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. People love to find a good deal (and there’s no better deal than free).
It’s also a great community and team-building event that people can unite over. You could do it at work, in your neighborhood, at your place of worship, with friends, or anywhere else you hang out.
Earth Day Discussion:
- What do you plan to do this Earth Day to have a positive impact or reduce your existing impact?
- Have you done something like this at work or elsewhere before?