Greener BeeGreen GadgetsOld is also green: How OLX transactions cut 6.6 mt of CO2 emissions

When you buy a new car, you unintentionally help release 2,013 kg of carbon emission into the atmosphere. And when you buy a new mobile phone, you add another 40 kg of carbon dioxide to the environment. You may be simply unaware of what you, in doing so, did to the atmosphere — when you buy a new product, this much carbon emission, produced during its manufacturing process, is released into the atmosphere.

Not so if you buy a pre-owned or used car or a mobile phone whose ‘life’ is still useable. This is how those who bought and sold on the OLX platform in 2016-17 prevented release of 6.6 million tonnes (mt) of carbon dioxide into the earth’s environment and helped control the greenhouse effect.

“Our study with the Centre of Environment Education (CEE), Ahmedabad, has estimated that transactions of pre-owned and used products helped prevent release of 6.6 mt of carbon emission. Had people bought new goods, this emission would have only added to our environmental woes,” Amarjit Batra, CEO, OLX India, told BusinessLine.

Those fond of flashy lifestyles simply replace their cars or gadgets in fine condition within months, much before the actual ‘life’ of these items runs out. So, each new buying adds to the carbon emission, which can be avoided if one buys pre-owned articles. Buying and selling a pre-owned product can extend its overall life or use-by date, he said.

Batra said reselling, reusing and recycling a product can actually help at least five more users over the remaining life of the product.

He said in 2016-17 the OLX platform recorded one crore transactions across 11 categories: cars, mobile phones, refrigerators, TV sets, computers, laptops, furniture, sofa sets, cameras, books and clothes.

On an average two lakh cars are sold on OLX each month. The combined sale value or gross merchandise value (GMV) of the sold cars on OLX put together is equivalent to around $1 billion (Rs 6,500 crore) per month.

Similarly, two million pre-owned mobile devices were sold on OLX with a GMV of $270 million (Rs 1,737 crore). Transactions of used mobiles on OLX reduced the total carbon footprint by over 2.4 lakh tonnes of CO2, which is equal to three times the annual CO2 emission of the transport sector recorded in Ahmedabad.

The combined transactions on OLX estimated that these helped save 6.6 mt of CO2, equivalent to the combined annual greenhouse gas emission by the transport sector of both Chennai and Ahmedabad, or 75 per cent of the combined annual greenhouse gas emission by Greater Bengaluru’s transport sector, or half of Delhi’s transport sector.

Every time one buys a pre-owned product, the earth becomes a little greener. Every time one sells a used product, its life gets extended, ensuring more judicious use. Every time one buys such a product, one less item gets produced, lowering carbon dioxide emissions that are suffocating our environment and lungs, he added.

Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, or community.

How big is 6.6 mt of CO2? It is equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions that 10.5 million teak trees, which are widely chopped down for their premium wood, absorb in their entire lifetime. It is also equal to CO2 emissions curbed by the Delhi Metro in 12.5 years.

The Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environment Education (CEE) is supported by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.

For the calculation of carbon emission, all stages in the lifecycle of a product, from raw material procurement till it reaches the user, were taken into account for 11 product categories on OLX.

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