Declutter your life, not by filling a dumpster, but by recirculating the things you don't use anymore to people and organizations that will.
A new app aims to increase the useful life of our stuff after we've bought it, essentially bringing about a purer version of the sharing economy than the Uber-fication of everything. One of the tenets of sustainability is reducing our purchase and consumption of stuff we don't really need, but even knowing that, the most green-hearted among us probably end up with things we hardly ever use, but which could be useful to others if only we could get it to them. Stuffstr could be that connector between stuff and needs, and a potential circular economy solution.
According to John Atcheson, CEO of Stuffstr, "The average household in the U.S. has over $7,000 in unused stuff, and the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing annually," and while most of us might prefer that those unused items get a second life instead of going to the dump, "it’s often easier to just throw things away." And if it's true that we "use 80% of our stuff less than once a month," then there's a whole lotta stuff that is essentially just taking up space in our homes, and which could potentially be put to use by someone who needs it.
Perhaps this is preaching to the choir here on TreeHugger, but there are plenty of organizations that will gladly take your old stuff off your hands and put them to work for charitable causes, and there are quite a few options for selling unused items, both locally and on the web, but all too often, it's deemed to be too much work (and I guess when compared to chucking something in the trash, anything else seems like too much work). With an estimated 70% of the things we buy ending up in landfills, it's far better to take a little time to keep at least some of that stuff recirculating, rather than providing future archeologists with yet more evidence that we're an incredibly wasteful culture.
Stuffstr could be one way to ease your enviro-guilt and reduce your own stuff-print (yes, I just coined that term), by using an item that is often in our hands anyway - our smartphone. The app allows users to either manually input their unused items, or to import email receipts and Amazon purchases, and then it delivers item-specific recommendations for what users can do with that stuff, ranging from donations to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, manufacturer recycling programs, used electronics collection services, and more. The app also delivers directions to these donation spots, allows for users to set reminders to do so, and displays the various pickup options available.
Users can also put the app to work as a way to let their friends know which items they're looking to get rid of, which seems to me to be probably the least useful aspect (after all, how hard is it to tell your friends about unused items?), but which could serve as a virtual giveaway hub.
"Stuffstr increases the use and recirculation of the things we buy, helping people reduce clutter and keep things out of landfills."
I first read about Stuffstr back in April, when it seemed to be geared toward helping its users get some financial returns out of their unused items, by tracking the value of each item input to the platform so that they can set a decent price for them when reselling on Amazon or Ebay or other consumer-to-consumer platform, but it appears as if the focus has now moved to strictly reuse and recycling. According to that article, the company's goal was to "have more than one billion items on the platform within three years," primarily items that retain their value for at least six months or more, and it's not immediately clear how Stuffstr's goals have shifted with the move toward a "recirculate your stuff" model.