Made In The U.S.A.

“With eBay, you always save something. Like the planet.”

In Adventures on April 22, 2009 at 12:52 am

Green is the new whatever.

I’m sorta sick of greenness, to be honest with you. It’s important and all, but with my recent hyperawareness of corporate marketing in relation to all things origin, I’m really kind of disgusted by the extent to which corporate America will go to trick us out of our dollars by artificially touting its eco-friendliness.

Reading a recent Esquire issue I came across a full-page ad (placed coincidentally amid an article on being green) disguised as editorial content, which in the business is called an advertorial and is really kind of sucky in a lot of ways but apparently effective and if done right not totally deceitful. But I’m digressing. This ad was for eBay. More specifically, it was to promote eBay’s new stance that buying pre-owned stuff from them is not only cost-effective but green, too. They call it “Eco-shopping.”

Noteworthy sentences from the ad include:

When searching eBay, use terms such as “last season,” “refurbished,” “pre-owned” or “used” for great deals on first-generation iPhones, HDTVs and digital cameras.

Because I buy about 20% of my gadgets refurbished–which helps reduce the carbon footprint of new manufacturing–I don’t feel so guilty about indulging my love of electronics.

The sale of used laptops on eBay last year saved over 69,000 tons of CO2-equal to saving 437 acres of trees.

When you give a used product a new life by buying it on eBay, you reduce the emissions associated with manufacturing and decrease the need for new raw materials.

A big part of our impact comes from the buying decisions we make every day. Buying pre-owned products is just one of the many ways to make greener, smarter choices with eBay and practice “conscious consumption.”

All the adspeak and marketing lingo aside, the concept is a good one. I’m not going to advocate buying last year’s 64-inch HDTV as the greenest thing in the world–but then again, it’s hard to argue that it’s not a “greener” option than buying this year’s brand new model. I’ll point out that you can find an even greener small-scale option by shopping second hand in your own hometown.

And the idea that our buying decisions have an impact and we need to be conscientious consumers? That’s great. I think it goes far beyond greenness, obviously. But if it takes riding the green wave to get a handle on awareness of how we buy and consume, so be it.

If you’re interested, you can find out more about eBay’s project from its Green Team at

If not, just try to by something secondhand every once in a while. Then feel good about yourself for that.



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