Buying and Selling Used Barcelona Necessities

Buying and Selling Used Barcelona Necessities

Courtney, Pat, Sean, and Jimmy

1. What is the action

At the end of this semester, we will organize a "buyback" to purchase abroad specific items that students do not want to take home. These items include but are not limited to: converters, bedding, hair dryers, curling irons, cellphones, and books. We will pay the students a predetermined amount for the specific item they would like to sell. The inventory will then be stored until students studying in the winter and spring term arrive. Upon arrival, the new students will be able to go through the inventory and purchase any items they need for abroad. It will be necessary for an administrative staff member of IES to manage and organize the sale. The process is to be repeated at the end and beginning of each respective semester.

1.1. Similar actions form previous semesters

There were quite a few similar actions from previous semesters including but not limited to “Drop Box,” “Drop it Like it's Hot,” “Cell Phone Recycle Program,” “Electronics Recycling Program,” “Electronics Buy Back Program,” and “Recycling Used Electronics.” “Drop Box” and “Drop it Like it's Hot,” involved designating a place in IES in which unwanted items acquired while abroad could be dropped off, and IES would redistribute them to students enrolled in the following semester of the study abroad program. “Electronics Buy Back Program, and “Recycling Used Electronics” are similar to the previous actions listed but their scope was narrow and only considered the reutilization of cell phones and other electronic products such as adapters.

1.2. Why this or a similar action didn't succed in previous semesters?

Similar actions from previous semesters failed mostly in part because each group failed at securing an IES employee to run the program as students are only at their abroad programs for a limited time period. Further, most projects did not have the necessary components to become implementable and successful. The three key components needed for this action to be implementable are finding an IES employee to back and manage the program, obtaining funding to finance the initial buy back, and opening the buy back to more than just electronics and clothes. Continued, a few of the proposals suggested a website in which students could sell their electronics. Instead of being eco-friendly, this idea is actually detrimental to the environment because once a buy and seller are lined up, it is likely that they are both in two different parts in the world which results in extremely high shipping costs and unnecessary pollution coming from transporting the item to the buyer.

  • Lacked an incentive for students to go out of their way and return their unwanted items to IES. Instead they choose to either throw them away or lug them back to the states.
  • Lacked the student initiative to find an administrative staff in IES who would manage and monitor the buy back programs.
  • Too narrow of a scope - only focused on the recycling of one product.
  • No commitment.

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1.3. SWOT Analysis

  • No kind of competition
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Reduced carbon footprint of abroad students
  • Promotes sustainability to students
    • large influence

  • Lack of backing
  • Students being unaware of the program
  • Might be initially expensive

  • Opportunity to buy expensive products for cheap prices leading to large profit margins
  • Multiple abroad programs in the Barcelona area
    • expansion

  • Lack of funding
  • Unwilling administrative staff
  • Lack of storage space

1.4. Advertising

For advertising, we created flyers to hang on the bullitan boards on different floors in IES. Emails informing the students about the BuyBack program would be sent a week prior to its start. Following, a reminder email would be sent a day and two days prior.

1.5. Feedback loops

The Balancing Loop created by our ByeBack is as Follows: The more used goods that IES buys back from students the less waste there is; less waste means cleaner barcelona; cleaner barcelona means more students want to come to IES; more students come to IES means more students buy used goods from IES; more students buy IES used goods means they will then sell back to IES.

2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

ByBack is improving the sustainability of IES by reducing each students’ consumption and waste production from year to year. This program is inherently sustainable because the attractive opportunity to re-sell and re-use abroad specific item creates an alternative to the eco-destructive habit of unnecessary consumption. In turn, the system reduces waste production and unnecessary consumption ultimately avoiding the downcycling of these valuable products. Simultaneous, the program promotes the “waste=food” concept by extending the life of the product. Further, this program improves the sustainability of IES due to its Sustainable Local Enterprise Networks (SLEN) business model. Just as SLEN’s business model aspires to deliver human, social, financial and ecological benefits for all participants, so does the ByBack program. Our program is socially beneficial by fostering a community that is environmentally and economically conscious. Financially, the program is beneficial to all participants. For incoming students, it’s a cheaper and easier alternative to purchasing in store, lowering the initial abroad cost. For leaving students, this is an opportunity to make money back on useless products. The leftover proceeds could belong to IES to use towards school improvements and the next ByBack fair. Lastly, it is environmentally sustainable as it reduces consumption and waste build up. Lastly, if carried out completely, this program emphasizes the importance of sustainability which subsequently change student’s attitudes towards their own environmental impact.

2.1. Potential Costs

Potential costs include out of pocket expenses (in Euros) to initially buy items from the first round of students as well as storage and maintenance cost. We anticipate the profit from the subsequent semester’s buybacks would cover the initial out of pocket expenses.

3. How will you implement it

The project will be implemented with the following steps: starting December 9th flyers will be posted all around the IES Center; during December 11-18th, buybacks will occur on the first floor in the common area; items will then be turned over to IES to store until the new students arrive; on the student arrival day, the IES administrative staff member will display items for sale and new students coming to check in will be able to purchase any items. These steps should be repeated each semester.

3.1. Prototype (or Proof of Concept)

Currently, we have already aquired inventory from our group as well as from friends. As of now, we have a converter, a straightener, and a fan. This inventory is impressive because we have had this large of a response so early when the program is just getting marketed. Further, some students have expressed interest in our program, especially if recieving a monetary reward, but said they still at times used their products and, therefore, would not sell or donate the items until the end of the program.

3.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

This system would likely not use products that were designed following the ideas of “cradle to cradle” however it could be considered “cradle to cradle” in the sense that anything that a new IES student buys will one day be returned to IES and consumed by future IES students. Although not “cradle to cradle” with nature, it is “cradle to cradle” for the lifetime of that product within IES.

3.3. Flyers

We have created fliers using recycled paper to be displayed in various locations around IES.

3.4. Incentives

Students will be able to buy things that students in the past have needed for their semester abroad at a lower price than they would at the stores. When finished with their semester, students will be incentivised by money to sell back those products or even new ones. IES should be willing to help because although at first they will need to pay for the initial inventory, over time they should have the opportunity to make a profit. It is also a good point to advertise to students considering IES Barcelona.

3.5. Relationship with the Other initiatives being implemented

Although it has not been discussed it is possible that our group and the group providing information about Barcelona and traveling in Europe could partner to create a website containing the BuyBack inventory and their collection of information all in one place. IES could potentially take over this website as some sort of social network site for just its students.

3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

Some level of faculty support is required for this action to succeed. The inventory must be kept in IES and sold at the beginning of each semester. At the end of the semester the sustainability students could operate and improve the BuyBack. The financing of inventory should sustain itself after it is initially purchased.

3.7. Comparison to similar actions form previous semesters

As previously stated in "Similiar Actions from Previous Semesters," there have been multiple actions with a similiar concept to ours. However, the key factor to our project that sets us apart from the others is that we are offering a monetary reward for their items which will in turn encourage more participation. Previous actions lacked student involvement and, therefore, did not succeed. Further, previous actions failed to gain the support of the administration. We have had meetings and been in contact with Cesar, who is very supportive of our project and believes he can find money in the budget to fund our project.

4. Time-sheet / Chronogram

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4.1. Who will do what

This December, as the semester comes to an end, we will do our best to advertise our BuyBack in order to reach as many students as possible. We will do this through flyers, word of mouth, and if possible, help from IES via mass email. When we initiate the BuyBack during the last 1-2 weeks of school, the work will be divided between Sean, Patrick, Jimmy, and Courtney. There will be designated times before and after classes that the BuyBack will be in operation, as advertised (Wednesday December 16th, All day). One-Two people will be posted at the BuyBack station during these times in order to buy back used goods that students do not feel the need to take back with them to the United States.

4.2. What has been done this semester?

For our project this semester, the team met multiple times for collaboration and brainstorming about potential directions and outcomes of the program. An email thread was started with Cesar to set up a meeting date to disucss funding for the project. After meeting with Cesar, we devised a buisness plan for Cesar to use to determine how much money to allocate towards the program. We also made and hung informational flyers around IES.

4.3. What needs to be done to repeat the action in the future?

In order to make this BuyBack system sustainable, IES staff members will ultimately need to play a critical role. The transition period in between semesters is crucial. In order for there to be a high demand for used goods at the SellBack at the beginning of the following Spring, IES must make this option known to students preparing to come in the Spring. Many students who know that upon arrival there is a cheaper option to purchase used hangers, converters, ect., from the previous semester will hold out on buying brand new ones in the United States. This will attract both the environmentally conscious and money conscious incoming students to the sell back of used goods at the start of the semester.

During the first week of each semester, it will be the responsibility of IES staff to hold and advertise the sell back. It may seem like this will place a burden for IES staff to devote more time but in reality it isn’t. There are always multiple staff members at the IES Center. To operate the sell back they do not even need to leave their desks. They can simply place the box of used good next to them and when a student comes around looking to purchase a used good, they proceed with the transaction and then may return to their work. There will also be a provided flyer format that will only require the date and time to be changed.

In a perfect system, as each semester comes to an end, sustainability students will initiate the BuyBack, possibly as their final project, assuring that ample effort goes into reaching out to the student body in order to buy back as many reusable goods as possible. This way, IES staff need not be as involved, or involved at all with the BuyBack. At the close of the BuyBack, and upon the Spring semester students departure from Barcelona, the responsibility falls back into the hands of IES staff and the cycle continues…

5. Document format

We used Libreoffice for our document format. This means the document can be edited with multiplatform FLOSS tools without loosing the layout. Its an open access free software that is considered sustainable because everyone has access to it.

6. Bibliography

Drop Box Implementation, 2014, Sharrin, Vine, Breiner, http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/item3574?from=actions
Drop Box Plan, 2013, Kaleigh, Carly, Jane, http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/item3589?from=actions
Drop It Like It's Hot, 2014, Travis Croom, Zeyu Wen, Will Rathman, Johana Guerra, http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/item3569?from=actions

7. Other References

8. Annexes

Email Exchanges
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Image ByeBack Flyer

We chose to use Attribution Copyright license. We feel that this gives our idea the most opportunity to improve and evolve over time while we are not concerned with future projects building on our idea using the same copyright license.

8.2. What did you learn and what did you incoporate from the feedback received?

We learned the difficulites of implimenting a program that requires participants to change habits. Although ByeBack has immense potential to introduce enviornmentally conscious habits into the IES program, getting the money required to kick start the program presents an immediate draw back as there is no proof that IES would be refunded or that the program will be a success. The assumption is that the program would eventually become self-sustainable and potentially even make IES money, however there have been no test runs to prove any type of outcome. The success of the program would depend on students actively participating out of their own volition. Because this is hard to secure, Cesar required a thorough buisness plan to convince him that we had thought out how to make this program sustainable over multiple semester before allocating us money. By making a buisness plan, we really thought about the different ways we'd encourage students to participate and how this would translate across semesters.

8.3. Acknowledgements

We'd like to acknoledge Prof. X. De Pedro and Cesar

8.4. Students involved in this action

Main Contributors - Patrick Blay, Jimmy Clemmens, Sean Gard, and Courtney Kameros

Links to similar proposals:

Feedback from your class mates through the Peer-Review Assignment
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Page last modified on Friday 01 of January, 2016 11:58:15