Boolamarket: A Sustainable Marketplace

May 9, 2016

Every spring as the time comes to leave Yale for the summer recess, students dispose of huge volumes of goods. Chairs, books, futons – it doesn’t matter what it is, when move out time comes around, someone is going to need to get rid of it.

Yale has a materials reuse program, Spring Salvage, which captures some of this waste and sends it to Easter Seals Goodwill Industries. In 2015, Spring Salvage gathered over 30 tons of material. But these goods still leave the Yale community, which represents a huge loss.

Kevin Fung (’17), looked at this material stream and saw an opportunity. Working with several other undergraduates, he developed and launched Boolamarket in 2015, “an efficient, sustainable second-hand marketplace that enables the Yale community to sell in bulk and find timely buyers.”

During its launch, Boolamarket gathered over 2000 users on the site. The platform is free to use for Yale students, faculty and staff. Payment is processed through Venmo, a third-party platform analogous to Paypal.

While Spring Salvage works well to recapture some materials, it lacks an incentive for people to be organized with exchanging goods. Fung hopes that the new platform will encourage people to think more proactively about their belongings as they move out.

Boolamarket 2.0 launched this April, with several quality-of-life improvements. Fung and his co-workers do not make any money off the platform.

 “By enabling people to sell their items, Boolamarket really drives home the fact that most of these goods are of high quality and can be re-used,” said Fung. “Realizing that value is the first step towards wasting less.”