Who is ready for a brighter and more circular future in Chicago? Today, after years of technological advancements on Rheaply to support public reuse in the Chicagoland area, I’m incredibly proud to announce the launch of the Chicago Reuse Marketplace. The marketplace will keep important items such as workplace furniture, fixtures, equipment and building materials in use beyond their first life, and into the hands of businesses and nonprofits who need them most – for free.
The marketplace, sponsored by our friends and fervent supporters at Google, is about resourcefulness, connectivity, and organizational commitment to sustainability. It’s about knowing our business neighbors on a deeper level – what are their needs? How can our typical waste outputs be inputs for a nearby business or nonprofit, like a K-12 STEM program, or small business? Organizations that reuse on Rheaply reduce solid waste disposal, promote resource efficiency, and stimulate economic development.
Here in Chicago, waste audits from the inspector general project that 1 million tons of waste generated by the city is coming right from our buildings. What’s more, recent EPA estimates suggest that in 5 years, the state of Illinois’s landfills will be 100% filled. How many of these items can be pushed back into a useful product lifecycle to reinvigorate the Chicago economy and address the budget crises facing the city?
Building on the Covid-19 PPE Market
If you’re familiar at all with Rheaply’s history in Chicago, you may know the launch of the Chicago Reuse Marketplace is really three years in the making. The Rheaply team was here before. In 2020, during the collapse of the supply chain for personal protective equipment (PPE), Rheaply partnered with World Business Chicago to reduce the cost for small businesses and nonprofits to receive low-cost PPE, guarding against price gouging in the market. Rheaply used principles of the circular economy – in a digital marketplace – to allow essential workers and businesses to access materials from their neighbors right here in Chicago, to stay safe against Covid.
In three short months, 4,604 transactions from 2,245 Chicago-based small businesses came together to distribute sanitation equipment, masks, surgical gloves, face shields, and more.
Today, you can create a virtual reuse storefront for anything you no longer need in the workplace, activating a local sharing economy.
Here's how to get started
The best way to make the most of the Chicago Reuse Marketplace is to dive in head first. Sign up to create your account and get full access to all of the available listings and unlock the ability to post listings of your own.
Follow these easy steps:
- Go to rheaply.com/cities/il/chicago
- Complete the sign up form
- Once approved, you’ll receive an email from Rheaply to set up your account
- List your first item through the “Create” button
- Browse for items and make an offer!
Help spread the word
From a global perspective, if we could create structure around the flow of products and materials across 1,000 cities, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60%, and keep us close to hitting the targets outlined in the Paris Accords.
Downtown Chicago has over 144 million square feet of commercial real estate, and the suburbs have over 106 million square feet.
As we speak, things are taking up space and creating expensive waste disposal fees when small businesses, non-profits, schools, or our low-income neighbors could use these materials. Let’s change that narrative together. Whether your organization is on the receiving, selling or giving end – and hopefully, it’s a mix of all three – we can keep these items out of the landfill and reduce the need for new purchasing, together; altogether.