Secondary material marketplaces are online or brick-and-mortar forums that facilitate the exchange of secondary raw materials. These marketplaces allow secondary material suppliers and buyers to find each other on a web-based platform. The concept evolved out of industrial symbiosis thinking and gained traction with the arrival of the internet in the 1990s.
WBCSD is aware of over 100 marketplaces currently operating globally. Most marketplaces operate at a municipal or regional level as challenges arise with the expansion of geographical coverage (i.e. regulations, economic viability, etc.).
Less than half of the marketplaces observed today operate as a private organization, meaning most require government or foundational resources to sustain. The privatized marketplaces finance themselves through advertising, memberships, transaction fees, subscriptions and consulting services.