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Research profile: Reducing Waste Through the Sharing Economy - do online platforms make a difference?

April 14, 2018

When my kids were younger, I realized we didn't have one of the hallmarks of the American home:  a basketball hoop.  I looked on Craig's List and found one across town.  My son and I borrowed a friend's pickup truck and met the nice gentleman whose grandkids were all grown up and not "shooting hoops anymore."  We hauled it back and it still stands proudly in our backyard. It has withstood driving rains, games of PIG, snow, many dunk attempts, and more snow.  And we will someday pass it on.


The internet and explosion of online trading and matching platforms have accelerated this kind of exchange.  But is this having an absolute effect on reducing waste? This is a crucial question. World Bank data suggests waste production is going to increase globally.


Smeal College of Business' Supply Chain and Information Systems Department has consistently been ranked No. 1 as a leader in supply chain education.  The department features top-ranked degree programs, world-renowned faculty expertise and research, and corporate connections with top companies and supply chain practitioners.


One of these renowned faculty is Suvrat Dhanorkar, Asst. Professor of Supply Chain Management and his research tackled the question of whether these online platforms make a difference on reducing waste. His paper "Environmental Benefits of Internet-Enabled C2C Closed-Loop Supply Chains: A Quasi-Experimental Study of Craigslist" was recently published in Management Science.