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Why online selling is greener and safer than ever


Woman packing items to sell

Selling your pre-loved items online is not only good for the planet, it's good for you too.

With increasing concerns around the state of our environment, many of us are now looking for ways to be more eco-conscious in our day-to-day lives.

Reselling items that you no longer want or need can be a good place to start limiting waste. Not only does it help to close the loop between purchasing a product and sending it to a landfill, but it can also encourage more people to buy second-hand goods.

With resale culture skyrocketing in popularity over the past few years, we've taken a look at how selling your pre-loved items online can drive more circularity in the shopping space. We've also looked at how selling online is easier with parcel services such as Sendle, and why it's now safer than ever, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This guide is sponsored by eBay. It's easy to start selling, whether you want to make some extra cash clearing unwanted items from around the house, or even start a business. Sendle contactless delivery now available.

How is reselling online more environmentally friendly?

From fashion to tech products, most of us upgrade a great many of our possessions every few years. Unfortunately, this means that they end up with a much shorter lifespan.

Items that are still in good condition can be kept out of the landfill by being resold. Remember the saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure"? Well, that's certainly true when it comes to selling online.

Marketplaces like eBay see people buy and sell just about everything you can think of, meaning that there is almost certainly a shopper out there willing to buy your pre-loved goods.

The increase in readily available pre-owned items is also likely to lead to an increase in shoppers purchasing second-hand items. For instance, a buyer may search for a Nintendo Switch on eBay, only to realise that they can pick up a pre-owned console for a fraction of the cost. Not only do both the buyer and seller then benefit from the transaction, but the console also stays out of the landfill.

Listings for a Nintendo Switch on eBay

The same goes for other items such as clothing. The fashion industry remains one of the biggest sources of pollution in the world, and keeping your clothes in good condition and selling them on when they no longer fit can have quite a significant impact.

It may also encourage you to buy less in the future as cleaning out your closet can make you realise just how many pieces you own and never wear. Many people have taken advantage of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic to start early on spring cleaning. Selling those items makes more sense than just throwing them out, and it's better for the planet too.

How can you be more eco-friendly as a seller?

Selling online is a great way to extend the life of a product and stop it from becoming waste. Follow these steps to minimise your impact further.

  • Be conscious of packaging. Wrapping up your items in heaps of plastic is the quickest way to undo all the good you've just done. Opt for cardboard boxes or other recyclable packaging options where possible.
  • Send items together. If a buyer is purchasing multiple items, save on packaging and offer to send everything in the one box.
  • Be conscious of the postage service. If you're selling through a shopping platform, look for sites that have eco-friendly delivery options. For example, eBay offers sellers the opportunity to send their items through courier service Sendle, which offsets its carbon emissions and invests in positive environmental causes. Sendle also offers contactless pickup and delivery, making it a safe choice during the coronavirus pandemic.

How does reselling online benefit you?

It isn't just the environment that can benefit from reselling your unwanted items – you can too. Here are a couple of reasons you may want to consider doing an early spring clean this year:

  • It's a good way to make money. While throwing out or giving away old items may seem more convenient than selling them, doing so will mean missing an opportunity to make some cash. From clothing that's still in good condition to old video games and books, there are plenty of items you may have lying around the house that can sell for much more than you would expect. Platforms such as eBay are full of shoppers eager to snap up second-hand items, making it worth looking around to see what you can sell.
  • It can make you a more conscious shopper (and save you money in the long run). When you invest some time into cleaning out your cupboards, you'll likely find a bunch of unused or unworn items. These products can give you an indication of where to stop spending your money, especially if you find that you have multiples of the same product. For instance, if you come across a pile of unworn tops, it's probably a sign that you need to alter your shopping habits. This could mean going in store and trying pieces on before making a purchase or taking inventory of your clothing and working out which pieces you actually need to buy in future.

Is it safe to sell online?

While it definitely pays to be vigilant when selling online, it is safe to do so as long as you list your items through a reputable platform.

Sites like eBay can offer sellers additional peace of mind through seller protection schemes. One such strategy is eBay's Guaranteed Delivery offer, which sees your items shipped through courier service Sendle.

Sellers who opt to use Guaranteed Delivery will have eligible parcels delivered to their buyers within two business days and will be protected from late deliveries, with no impact to their seller performance for any delays. If an item takes more than two days to be delivered, Sendle will also reimburse you the delivery fee.

eBay also offers sellers additional protection from abusive buyers and from buyers who purchased an item but didn't pay. This means that the site will investigate any unfair user comments, or buyers who claim to have paid when they haven't, and resolve the issue on your behalf.

Be aware that not all selling platforms offer this level of protection, so be sure to do your research before listing something online.

The other key safety concern for online sellers in 2020 is coronavirus. However, it's possible to sell your goods while minimising contact with others. eBay's courier partnership with Sendle, for instance, allows for goods to be picked up and delivered without requiring any contact with the delivery driver.

If you're using a local pickup option, remember to maintain social distancing. You can ask the buyer to message you when they arrive and then take the goods to their car to keep contact to a minimum.

Main image: Getty

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