WasteGate and the City

New York City produces approximately 12 tons of trash a day, and that’s only accounting for residential and not commercial waste. I can’t even begin to imagine what that amount looks like; one nightmarish vision is of Central Park’s Sheep Meadow covered entirely in trash bags. It’d be extremely unpleasant to play a friendly game of Frisbee or sunbathe amidst heaping mounds of rotting, stinking garbage. However, something tells me a majority of this “trash” isn’t rotting food and used tissues, but reusable or recyclable goods that people want to get rid of.

I can relate to the need. I went through a very dramatic experience trying to sell my sofa bed on Craigslist. I found myself constantly being forced to reduce the price every hour until my posting eventual became “FREE SOFA BED PLEASE PLEASE TAKE IT AWAY”. I even found myself posting angry rants about the sofa on my Facebook page. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic but it felt so at the time.

Eventually, my neighborhood bar friends helped me carry it out and deposit it on the curb like a good New Yorker (thank you bartenders of defunct bar on Allen and Houston). Don’t get me wrong, I love Craigslist, but the people of New York need a better option for getting rid of their junk, possibly even exchanging their junk with others. If you feel the same way, be sure to check out WasteGate, a free service that lets you swap your unwanted goods for other users’ items.

WasteGate is currently in beta testing; visit http://www.wastegateapp.com or email info@wastegateapp.com to test drive the site!

-Paulina and WasteGate Staff

Keeping Up with the Shoe Trends

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We all know that shoes are an integral part of a woman’s outfit: they can make the dressed down outfit a little more fancy and vice versa. So when it comes to inventory style, I prefer having a variety of shoes to choose from every season; that means at least ten boots and heels in the fall and more in the winter. You probably could have guessed that I like my shoes.

Further more, the type of shoe that’s appropriate at any given time changes with the seasons. I may love the flip-flops currently on my feet, but they’ll be useless and out of style come September. I’ll have to trade in my flip-flops for flats or sneakers that have a little more warmth and protection.

Even worse, the trendiness of shoes, whether they’re flats or boots, is constantly changing. Style is ever evolving, so it seems logical to exchange last season’s boots for this season’s model. Unfortunately, we all know how expensive shoes can be. Just the other day while browsing for a new pair of boots, I noticed that Steve Madden’s prices range from $80 to $180. That’s far too high a price for anyone living on a budget.

Taking a step back and looking at things in the grand scheme really shows just how expensive it can become. Shoes only last so long, and money also needs to be spent on the clothes and accessories. Keeping up a wardrobe throughout the year really can become a financial burden. That’s why WasteGate can become an important asset to any fashonista. Remember those combat boots that you bought last fall but no longer wear? WasteGate makes it easy to swap them with another user for a pair of shoes you could use. It’s just another example of how one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

-Vinoli and WasteGate Staff

The Tragedy of a Broken Mac

I was having a great night as I sat in my bed and watched ‘House of Cards’ on my Macbook Pro; nothing could have possibly gone wrong. That was until I decided to pause the show and glance at my Instagram for a moment. I pulled the phone up to my face, forgetting that I had plugged it into my computer, and shifted myself into a more comfortable position. With that, the silver body of the Mac dropped off the bed.

I swear my heart skipped a beat; I glanced over on held breath to my find the laptop lying on the floor. I closed my eyed as I picked it up, fearing the damage. I lifted up the top of the computer; the entire keyboard had shifted and the screen cracked. Then came the absolute sense of panic: not only was my laptop destroyed, but I was also going to be chewed out by my parents. Ah, the glorious life of a college student.

At the time, I thought the Mac would be salvageable for a few hundred dollars. The Apple Store disagreed: they said it would cost at least $900. This was too steep a cost for me. The Macbook was already two and a half years old, and for $900 I could buy a new laptop. Plus, it was my own money on the line; my parents would not pay to replace it.

I came to a conclusion that I would sell my laptop, but who would buy it? Neither Apple nor BestBuy accepted exchanges, so I was stuck with an old laptop and no money to buy a new one. It would be too difficult process to advertise my old broken laptop on Facebook or Instagram. I had come to a crossroads with nowhere to turn, what could I do?

Of course, there were many tech gurus, even in my local area, who would have wanted my broken computer for its parts. Unfortunately, I didn’t know who they were. I’m sure that Wastegating could have played a large part in my quest to lose my laptop. Sure, I may not have been able to swap my broken Mac for a working one, but I could have exchanged it for other items I wanted, like a nice set of headphones. Instead, my broken laptop never went anywhere and I had to spend a significant amount of money to buy a new one. Hopefully with WasteGate’s impending arrival, I will finally rid myself of it.

-Vinoli and WasteGate Staff

Who Runs the World? Girls… and Fashion!

At 7:00am every morning the alarm reminds me to start the day. What can I say? I’m just a typical girl trying to keep up with the American dream; it’s tough to juggle college, full-time employment, and a social life, especially when you need an outfit for each one. A typical day in my life sees an outfit for the gym, for class, for work, and sometimes an additional one for meetings. It always begins with my favorite gym outfit: a Nike t-shift, shorts, and running shoes.

After finishing my workout its time to return to the dorm and shower, before heading to class for the day. I like to dress casual but classy: jeans and a cute shirt, with a pair of flats or sandals to top it all off. Some college students might disagree with me, but I think clothes do make the man and woman. So I try to look my best at all times. I could almost say I follow the Olivia Pope life style: dressing well and achieving whatever I put my mind to.

Then, it’s time for work, and not just at the local diner. My employer is one of the largest law firms in Baltimore, so when it’s time to get dressed for work, it’s really time to impress with the dress! When choosing my outfit, I try thinking smart and selecting something that speaks to everyone who sees me in that building. I don’t want to seem like an amateur in the office, so dressing appropriately is key. A nice dress with a belt by the waist, some designer flats, plus a designer bag; it’s the perfect combination.

On top of all this, I don’t like to be seen wearing the same outfit twice. In order to keep up with my self-imposed class, I try to wear a different outfit everyday and keep my wardrobe up to style with the latest trends. After all, you can’t be seen wearing the same black heels everyday for a month and be taken seriously!

Unless you have the financial stability of Kim Kardashian, however, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the very changing fashion styles. This, my friends, is where Wastegating could be a great tool for many of us. When I no longer want one shirt that I’ve worn to class or work already, I can exchange it with somebody who will wear it. Beyond just shirts, I can swap some old worn Nike running shoes for someone else’s used pair. Wastegate is surely a medium in which one can save money as well as have the things they desire at the same time!

-Vinoli and WasteGate Staff

 

Textbook Wastegating

As the dog days of summer roll on, many college students around the country are slowly starting to prepare for the upcoming fall 2014 semester. Students have a multitude of issues to deal with as school begins, but one of the biggest is buying textbooks. In order to save money, many students use textbook outlets such as Chegg, Bookrenter.com, Amazon and others that allow users to rent or buy new and used books for a reduced price. The prices are often lower than the price of books that they may find in their school’s bookstore, but rarely significantly and some students struggle to get their textbooks.

My freshman year of college I spent almost 800 dollars on books at my school’s store. Over the course of my undergraduate career, I became more financially conscious by renting my books, which was always cheaper in the long run. It was around my junior year when I realized I could use the university’s library system to get my textbooks. While this usually worked, the different schools within the university’s library system did not always have the book that I needed, or due dates were too restrictive.

Thus, I still found renting and purchasing books. This is where Wastegating comes in. Although I only just graduated, I will attend school again in the future. Ideally, I can wastegate my unwanted and unused books to a student who needs them in exchange for the books I need. In this way, wastegating will also save valuable space. I currently have books piled in columns high on my dresser. Wastegating these unused books will eliminate clutter so that I can better organize my space (and make room for the next series of books, of course).

-Ashundria O. and WasteGate Staff 

 

 

Shopping Thrifty in Our Shared Economy

“Hey, Macklemore! Can we go thrift shopping?” squeaks an excited girl at the thought of being taken to the thrift store down the road to shop for secondhand treasures.

For a song about being cheap, “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is ironically successful; it would become the most successful track on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs Chart (source: BET), with over 6 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. Apart from all the thumping bass, the rhyming lyrics and euphonic melodies, what fascinates us and beckons our appreciation is how savvy the song truly is. Every time I hear “Only got twenty dollars in my pocket”, I chuckle at the honesty. We all know what it is like to scratch inside empty pockets. In a pop culture landscape plagued with the flashy shine of materialism, product placement and ostentatious pageantry, this musical message is street-smart and sings difference.

The song is a social critique, and it jabs at how mindlessly we acquire the “things” we want. Commercialistic market forces, in conjunction with mainstream media and consumerism, constantly reinforce our ideas of how to buy. They tell us that we only want something that is the latest and greatest product or brand, and that to do so we need the Amazons, the Walmarts, and the Saks Fifth Avenues. Macklemore’s song grabs this notion by the collar and turns it inside out. He gives us a jarring way to think about how fun and cool it might be, instead, to shop elsewhere with bags studded with wisdom and thrift.

In an interview with MTV, Macklemore said: “Rappers talk about, ‘Oh, I buy this and I buy that,’ and ‘I spend this much money and I make it rain,’ … [but] this is the kind of record that’s the exact opposite. [The song “Thrift Shop” is] the polar opposite of it. It’s kind of standing for, like, ‘let’s save some money, let’s keep some money away, let’s spend as little as possible and look as fresh as possible at the same time.” Later he adds, “[It’s about] how much can you save? How fresh can you look by not looking like anybody else?”

This revisionist thinking is refreshing. It speaks to the idea of the peer-to-peer economy. This is an economic and social system that is built around the sharing of goods and services. It removes the “new” purchasing aspect and brings in a love for reusing. Some estimates put the value of this economy at almost $30 billion. In college, we had book swaps to rebel against the hefty price tags of shiny retail shrink-wrapped textbooks. At home, we’ve had yard sales. And in the papers we still have classified ads.

“Thrift Shop” harkens to the same concept. Why not save money by getting what you need cheaper? Why not save the planet by reducing the waste from newly produced goods by reusing the stock of existing goods? Why not feel good from finding a steal of a deal? Why not feel refreshingly satisfied about helping someone else with a clean swap? Why not contribute to earthly sustainability in your own micro way? Truly, there is no reason not to.

When I read about WasteGate the first thought that came to my head was “Thrift Shop”. It helped me imagine the possibilities that could await us, for new technology reduces transaction costs and makes sharing easier. The beta release truly makes me hopeful that we are in the midst of something larger than ourselves; what this unique platform can unleash is our own, ever-expanding shared economy—the same thrifty economy that Macklemore raps about.

Snap. Show. Swap. Earn. Do it again.

With platforms like WasteGate, no longer will we have to ask “Hey! Can we go thrift shopping?” The “can we?” disappears and the “we can” appears. Now you can simply thrift shop without all the extra effort of moving about. This is the revolution of technology—the revolution that allows us to go forth and better our communities and ourselves.

This is why we hope, and this is also why we WasteGate.

-Nazran Baba and WasteGate staff

More of Nazran’s writings may be found at The Literartist: www.literartist.com

Swaying World Cup Allegiances

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have much faith in the United States national team seeing any success this World Cup. Football, and not the American kind, has never been one of our national strong points. Sure, we recruited fantastic players from international clubs like Jermaine Jones, Tim Howard, and Clint Dempsey, but a sum of parts doesn’t always equal the whole. My expectation was that we wouldn’t even win in our first game against Ghana.

Instead, I threw my support behind Spain, counting on soon-to-be New York FC player David Villa to bring in the gold. This wasn’t atypical for me, as Spain has always been a favorite national team of mine. So with my allegiances decided, I donned my Spanish jersey and sat down to watch Spain’s first game against the Netherlands. It was sure to be a flawless victory; after all, we had thrashed them in the last World Cup.

Then the unthinkable happened: Spain lost in a crushing defeat to the Netherlands. With their performance, I realized they had no chance of recovering to even pass out of group. My luck only grew worse when England fell to Italy soon after. As the USA’s first game came, I braced myself for yet another defeat.

Instead, the US nabbed a close victory, leaving me both surprised and ecstatic. In shame from thinking so poorly of my own national team, I decided to show support by replacing my Spanish jersey for a US one. A quick Google search put a nix on those plans when I learned the official US jerseys sold for $90 to $120! I couldn’t shell out that kind of money; I already had in preparation for the World Cup.

This is yet another situation where I expect WasteGate will prove useful. In my moment of epiphany, I could have easily swapped my Spanish jersey to another user, perhaps someone whose loyalty is undying, and seek out a US jersey. For sports fans like myself whose loyalties sway, it’s the far superior to the alternative of buying new fan gear. Especially as the World Cup moves past the group rounds, I expect many football enthusiasts will anxiously await WasteGate’s impending arrival as I am.

-Nick and WasteGate Staff