Tradepal Blog

May 01

The Next Industrial Revolution

Tom Friedman makes some very compelling arguments regarding climate change.

On the next big global industry:

By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.6 billion people.

"When flat meets crowded, you don’t need to have any climate debate. We are going to burn up, choke up, heat up, and smoke up this planet faster than anyone can possibly imagine. That says something that’s indisputable. The next big global industry is going to be clean power clean water, clean tech. The only question is: Are we going to participate in it or not?

On the worst case scenario:

"Think of preparing for climate change as someone that prepared for the Olympic triathlon and didn’t make the Olympics but ended up healthier and more fit and able to thrive in today’s world."

For more, watch the following video:

See Also:

Climate Change:  What is Real, Happening, and Expected

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

Food Labeling: Confuse and Conquer

Apr 29

Food Labeling: Confuse and Conquer!


Ever wonder what the information on packaged foods really means? For brands, packaging attracts buyers seeking the images or words mentioned on the product. But for consumers it can translate into false claims and confusion. While the term ‘organic’ is tightly regulated, the term ‘natural’ is a buzzword to generate sales. But what about brands with products claiming to be “cage-free”, “pasture-raised”, “whole-grain, and no-hormones?

According to the global marketing research company Mintel, about 51% of Americans seek out “all natural” when shopping. In recent years big brands have faced multi-million dollar lawsuits for using the deceptive term as many consumers seek out natural products. Ingredients such as hydrogenated oils and other factory-made substances are not natural so new terms are entering the marketplace such as wholesome, nutritious and minimally processed.  

In 2013, a “food labeling modernization” bill was introduced to Congress with the goal of forcing the Food and Drug Administration to establish a single, standardized nutrition labelling system. In addition to front-of-package (FOP) food labeling system, if passed, the bill will require the FDA to update the definition of “healthy”, “natural” and the disclosure of any processes that fundamentally alter the food.

ABC US News | ABC Business News 

See also:

The Next Industrial Revolution

Just TRADE It!

Tradepal Announces New Clinton Global Initiative to Make Reuse Convenient for College Students

Apr 27

Early Conservation Efforts and America’s Urban Parks


As the final day of National Parks Week has arrived, we reflect on the amazing contributions of the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. Born in 1822, Olmsted is credited with designing some of our nation’s most beloved landscapes, urban parks and academic institutions.

A visionary, his career in landscape architecture began in 1857 when Calvert Vaux convinced him to work on the design of Central Park in New York City. A modest man, he considered himself a public servant with the task of shaping cities by stabilizing environments. The goal being to keep nature in cities. Through collaborations with engineers and architects he made scenic landscapes appear naturally occurring while repairing the watersheds and marshes to connect public parks with winding pathways to extend the benefits of green spaces.

Over his lifetime, he was asked to carry out over 500 commissions. He believed nature offered healing effects on individuals by relieving the pressures of urban life, and that public parks are essential to the ideal of democracy. The hour-long documentary, “Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks” explores the early conservation efforts and the formation of America’s first parks during the late 19th century.

Watch Part 1 of the documentary below or view the full version, here

Image: Central Park, NY

See Also:

The Real World Impact of Climate Change

Would You Like Bottled or Tap?

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

Apr 26

Would You Like Bottled or Tap?



Did you know that a lot of bottled water is actually “tap” water? The documentary “Tapped”, focuses on the lead character — bottled water, and examines whether clean drinking water is a basic human right or a commodity to be bought and sold. 

Some facts:

Tapped invites audiences to go behind-the-scenes and examine the role of the bottled water industry. The narrative is framed by commentary from the FDA, citizens from the communities where water is extracted for bottling, as well as testimony from bottled water lobbyists. The takeaways include a better understanding of the importance of clean drinking water, the effects of bottling on our health, its impact on our oceans, and our growing reliance on oil.

Watch the movie:

See also:

Sustainability vs. Storage Wars Epidemic

Engaging Consumers to Create a Circular Economy

Just TRADE It!

Apr 24

The Real World Impact of Climate Change

The 45th annual Earth Day celebrations culminated with events that drew hundreds and thousands of attendees who learned to be better stewards of the planet, committed to living sustainably, and took action to reduce our impact on the environment.

The innovative docuseries, “Years of Living Dangerously”, is lending support to building awareness about the impact of humans on the environment through a 9-part documentary of one-hour segments. In each episode, the focus is on the specific issues surrounding climate change through the people being affected as they seek solutions and try to understand the new realities.  

Years of Living Dangerously, Episode 1:

The team of science advisors for the series includes Joe Romm, Heidi Cullen and James Hansen among other leading climatologists. With each episode, the collaboration seeks to de-polarize the debate by using a new approach that seeks to open up communication and humanize the climate change situation through relatable real-world issues. The series seeks to expose audiences to the real-world impacts of climate change to provide them with the framework to ask their leaders, educators and government, “What can we do about this issue?”

See also:

Making Reuse Convenient

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

Just TRADE It!

Mar 24

Just TRADE It!


  Tradepal’s Inaugural Earth Day Student Reuse Campaign for 2014

Across the United States, colleges and universities are gearing up this Earth Day to participate in the inaugural Just TRADE It! student reuse campaign. The 4-week campus campaign empowers students to reduce their carbon impact while helping the planet through campus-wide reuse. This unique reuse competition engages members of the campus community to join-in a fun event and to raise their awareness for the value of the many items they already own but no longer need, by providing a seamless way to “Just TRADE It!”.  

Keep the money in your pocket and simply list your unused items and watch as offers to swap, barter, and buy your surplus stuff arrive. By the end of the 4-week campaign, you will be surprised by how big of an impact your campus network made from reuse via the Carbon Savings Score … and the financial savings. Just TRADE It! begins on April 4th and ends on May 5th, 2014, so join today!

Why Student REUSE?

Tradepal recognized the tons of surplus items on campuses as students move in/out each semester in combination with the financial burden of education as students purchase books, pay tuition and monthly expenses. Tradepal began offering its’ reuse network technology to 100 campuses while waiving the cost as part of a commitment to action with CGI America.  

How it Works?

Simply join Tradepal and your campus network and start listing your items. It only takes 30-seconds to list an item, just type the name and brand in the ‘description’ and our technology will recognize it and offer item suggestions and the picture. Just gather up all the unused stuff that is sitting around such as updated electronics, sports equipment, textbooks, excess household items and accessories. List them on your Tradepal campus network and trade them for items you do need.

Campuses participating in Tradepal’s inaugural Just TRADE It! campaign includes members of student government, student affairs, residence halls, green groups, sustainability officers, faculty and staff. With 18 million students in college, and hundreds of thousands moving annually, it leaves a lot of items that can be traded, given away or sold while saving resources. As many campuses hold annual events where local non-profits collect unwanted items, all items not transacted can be donated. The Just TRADE It! campaign is launching on April 4, 2014 so request your network today.  

The Tradepal community managers are here to answer questions, share ideas for promoting your network on campus and update participants with the weekly leaderboard to know your campuses most current standing during the 4-week Just TRADE It! campaign.

To request more information or to find out if your campus is participating in Just TRADE It! send us an email at To learn how easy it is to launch your network, register for on of our upcoming webinars or submit a network request, here.

Happy Trading!

See also:

Making Reuse Convenient

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

Tradepal Announces New Clinton Global Initiative to Make Reuse Convenient for College Students

Feb 11

Redefining Sustainability Challenges: Designing Behavior Change Products

See Also:

The Real World Impact of Climate Change

Would You Like Bottled or Tap?

Sustainability vs. Storage Wars Epidemic

Feb 01

Super Bowl XLVIII: 5 Steps for Making Sustainability Cross to the Mainstream

Over the past weeks, the nation has been in a deep freeze and speculation has surrounded whether or not the Super Bowl XLVIII would be upstaged by the polar vortex. According to the National Weather Service, the game is now expecting a high of 29 degrees in the evening with zero chance of precipitation. With Super Bowl Sunday coinciding for the first time with Groundhog Day, climate is no longer a ‘tree hugger’ topic as weather conditions continue to force it into the mainstream.

For years, the NFL Environmental Program and the host cities community partners like the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee have been hosting community events as part of a larger environmental movement around green games, green stadiums and the wiser use of resources. Events connect people and communities, and through this bond neighborhoods build awareness for boosting their sustainability efforts. These events included the Super Community Coat Drive, e-waste recycling in Times Square, 61 sustainability measures at MetLife Stadium and stewardship projects that added 27,000 trees and shrubs to the city.


Credit: Green Restaurant Association

Engaging the local community is a great step for creating a ‘new normal’ where citizens become part of the solution in building toward a sustainable future. If you are thinking of incorporating green behaviors in your community or organization, here is a simple guide to making it a success:

Step 1: Make a Commitment and be a Game Changer.

Just like publicizing your New Year’s resolutions, making a commitment public is a great way to stick to your plan. As colleges and national sports organizations continue to compete to be the greenest and establish green teams to implement sustainability policies, these steps become real when the campus or community is aware and participating.

Step 2: Do a Needs Assessment.

Prior to taking steps for change, it is wise to assess what is needed and to determine a baseline or benchmark to identify opportunities for improvement and savings. A good example is the amount of electricity consumed by an NFL football stadium and the potential to offset this by adding LED light fixtures and 1,350 solar PV panels.


 MetLife Stadium, Credit: NRG, Energy Inc.

Step 3: Set Goals.

In an effort to bring awareness to reuse in communities, Tradepal, set a dual goal, this year, to implement its technology in 100 campuses nationwide and save 20,000 metric tons of carbon by June 2014. This is part of a larger effort focusing on our carbon footprints by quantifying the impact of reuse and offering communities a cost-effective carbon reduction initiative.  


Step 4: Create an Action Plan.

Once the goals are established, clearly define the steps and establish the respective roles of members. Preparing best practices will help boost everyone’s efforts. Once everyone is onboard, the plan is communicated and goals are set, it is time to incentivize and encourage others to be part of the solution. A tracking system with metrics is beneficial to track and monitor progress.

Step 5: Evaluate Progress and Recognize Achievements.

Measuring the results and reviewing the action plan will help to evaluate whether any adjustments are needed in order to reach the goal. This may include adding more partners to keep the momentum up. Creating awareness for excellence by  publicizing the achievements of partners and recognizing the efforts of individuals is also important.

Collectively the many organizations, partners and teams have taken effective steps toward reducing their carbon emissions and that of the host cities and area communities this Super Bowl. Through community events and lessons from the sports industry, neighborhoods can experience first-hand the benefits of building a cultural shift toward environmental awareness.

No matter which team wins Super Bowl XLVIII, both the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks have made great strides in raising the bar on sustainability.

See Also: 

Food Labeling: Confuse and Conquer

To Change the World, Start by Making Your Bed

Sustainability vs. Storage Wars Epidem

Jan 11

What is Your Impact from Reuse?


by Tamar Burton

When I reflect on the past year of traveling through communities dotted with farms and cities sprawling with shops and attractions, I am reminded of the impact we have on our planet. The weekly accumulation of recycling for the weekly pick up always catches my attention as I view all the waste on the curb. While I find some relief knowing communities are recycling, so many opportunities to do more to reuse and reduce are ignored.  

In the new year, I vow to continue to find ways to reduce my carbon footprint and share these experiences with others. If we take a minute to make small changes, we could have a big impact on a daily basis. Simple changes to our daily routines, such as replacing plastic bags and styrofoam cups with a personal carry all or refillable bottle, have a huge impact. Another easy target is the stockpile of unused items hidden away in our garages or self-storage facilities. The new year offers the perfect opportunity to take an active stance to make a change. By simply compiling the unused or outgrown items in our closets down to a pile of items to reuse via swap and giveaway provides both financial and emotional rewards. I vividly remember friends and family members who happily received items and the sense of satisfaction that followed from removing clutter while offering a great gift. 

What if you could quantify the environmental impact from the pile of items? The diagram below is the carbon savings derived from selling my bedroom set, my couch, various furnishings and giving away clothing, electronics and household items on Tradepal. With each listing, I am shown the carbon savings derived from each item by choosing to promote reuse — and not landfills. The CO2 calculator helps users to quantify their CO2 footprint savings directly with every barter, giveaway, buy or sell on Tradepal. And with each transaction, the individual carbon savings score quickly accumulates into an even bigger number with a greater impact by promoting reuse.

According to the EPA, my overall carbon savings is the equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 2.8 acres of a forest in one year, or the carbon emissions from consuming 387 gallons of gasoline. An individual impact of 3.5 metric tons is really powerful, but think of the combined impact of a residence hall, a campus or a college town that fully adopts reuse. 


Source: EPA 

See also:

Just TRADE It!

Super Bowl XLVIII: 5 Steps for Making Sustainability Cross to the Mainstream

To Change the World Start by Making Your Bed

Dec 29

Happy New Year 2014 

In the coming year -

“May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

And the rain fall soft upon your fields …”

Irish Blessings


Zhu Jinshi, Boat, 2012, Xuan paper, bamboo and cotton thread. Rubell Family Collection

Nov 30

The Evolution of Black Friday

Nov 05

Making Reuse Convenient


Incubating Consumer Behavior Change By Making Student Reuse On Campus Convenient 

by Tamar Burton

The lesson of The Three R’s - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle helped us shape our view of the environment. Building sustainable communities is an important challenge faced by millennials and requires innovation to enact consumer behavior change. America’s college students have embraced new solutions pertaining to reducing and recycling, but the area that hasn’t been addressed properly is reuse.

According to research by the NPD Group, the average U.S. household has over $7,000 worth of unused merchandise ranging from electronics and furniture; to textbooks and sporting goods. Overall, this excess merchandise accounts for $1 trillion worth of idle surplus. Think about reuse, everybody does it, right? Typically, the response given is: yes, I promote reuse on these websites. But, probe further and inquire when they last engaged reuse, and the response is a surprisingly dated: a year ago, two years ago, or I don’t recall. Clearly, reuse is not an adopted behavior although subconsciously it is. 

Tradepal’s one-click technology seeks to remedy this by making reuse easy and convenient. The platform simplifies the reuse process to enable users to list items in seconds, broadcast their virtual sale to their campus and friends, and seamlessly buy, sell and barter with peers. It also gamifies reuse as students are able to quantify their environmental impact through a dedicated carbon savings calculator.

Tradepal has recognized the problem with stuff and set its mission to make reuse as easy as recycling. Several colleges and universities have embraced the initiative to offer a convenient way for students to promote reuse by launching a campus reuse network on Tradepal. Tradepal made a commitment to action with CGI America to deploy its reuse platform to 100 college campuses and derive 20,000 metric tons of carbon savings from reuse by June 2014. 

Millennials hold the key to a sustainable and resilient future. By integrating innovation on campus, higher education provides students with opportunities to experiment and determine the best methods for introducing sustainable solutions. These experiences will prove pivotal in scaling consumer behavior change beyond college campuses and into the mainstream.

See also:

The Forgotten R of the Environment

Sustainability vs Storage Wars Epidemic

Climate Policy: Transitioning Behavior Change

Oct 23

Happy Campus Sustainability Day

Oct 01

Transitioning from More to Better

Source: Story of Stuff Project

(Source: tradepal)

Sep 26

The Invisible Cost of Carbon

"We are paying the price, the cost of carbon, but our economic system, our market system does not contain a price on carbon pollution. So it is effectively invisible in our economic calculations.  It is an externality." - Al Gore