Enterprising University of Birmingham student Harriet Noy is launching a smartphone app that helps fellow students reduce their carbon footprint by ‘shopping’ locally.
Harriet’ s already-successful zero waste online marketplace Hazaar enables students to be more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint by buying and trading items from clothing and textbooks, to costumes and household items.
Now, following a recent funding win, Harriet, a third year Economics student, from Northamptonshire, is launching an app to support Hazaar’s rapid expansion.
Hazaar users can buy items online that they hand over in person, which cuts out wasteful packaging and travel miles. It runs through Facebook Marketplace, but has more than 13,000 members and 37 different universities across the UK have a dedicated page.
Harriet said: “Hazaar grew out the society I founded, ‘Plastic-free UOB’ that aims to reduce single-use plastic on campus that opened my eyes to the issue of waste within student consumption habits.
“Our consumption is so immediate now and while it has many benefits, it also brings waste. For example, many students ‘Amazon Prime’ clothes and costumes to almost always use them only once, when a neighbour on a nearby street may already own those items. I knew I had to find a solution to this problem.’
A £20k funding win plus a further cash and equity deal with Niam Marketing are supporting the Hazaar community to grow by around 2,000 members every week. Each University’s Marketplace has its own ‘Head of Hazaar’ to help organise trading, community events and encourage a love of sustainable living.
Harriet also plans to expand Hazaar to other audiences and markets and commented : “While supporting sustainable living is my primary objective, our success so far shows that there is a clear business case for investing in green initiatives. Further funding will support our ambition to scale to all UK universities by September 2021 before moving to European universities and eventually explore other market opportunities at a global level.
“While Hazaar is an online community, it greatly relies on like-minded people coming together to support the sustainability cause, and this is why our leaders at each new local branch are so important.’
The all new Hazaar app launches in January 2021 and updates will be shared across Hazaar’s social media channels. Followers also benefit from regular posts that challenge habitual student practices to prevent harm to the environment and inspire sustainable living.