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Interview With Treasure Circle Founder, Alberto Larotonda

Supporting the ‘Circular Economy’
Sep 29, 2015
By: Anthony Bucci, Assistant Editor

MAG-TWF-BYG

Alberto Larotonda, founder of Red Bank-based Treasure Circle, has hopes that unwanted and unused goods from one individual or entity, can benefit others.

Larotonda’s website, TreasureCircle.com, is aiming to help redefine what e-commerce is by “giving individuals and businesses a different way to ‘shop’ in a new culture called the ‘circular economy,’” Larotonda says.

“The circular economy is a new idea to the United States,” he says. “Manufacturers are beginning to realize the fact that we will run out of resources and raw materials. So, we are taking the idea of this circular economy and creating a website where people and businesses can recirculate goods and materials they may not use or need anymore. Whether it is furniture, food, electronics, etc., there are a lot of unused items sitting in homes and businesses that people may not want to get rid of for one reason or another. These items can have value to others.”

TreasureCircle.com is similar to websites like Craigslist, where individuals can post items they would like to “get rid of.” However, unlike Craigslist, all items put on TreasureCircle.com are given away for “free.” For a nominal membership fee, the website utilizes a social network type approach, where individuals can search for items from other’s in their network, while posting items of their own that those from their network can obtain, as well.

The company’s slogan is “Shop Without Money™.” This approach is something that Larotonda feels will help the world become more sustainable and help create more jobs, especially in New Jersey.

“With resources becoming scarce and with jobs moving out of the area, I see this as a chance for individuals and entities – who may not be able to afford things – to not only get what they need, but by repurposing and restoring these products that may otherwise end up in a landfill or going to waste sitting in storage, help create jobs in many communities,” he says.

Larotonda says that Treasure Circle was New Jersey’s first benefit company, which means it is a for-profit company designed to benefit other businesses and individuals. New Jersey was the third state to enact legislation of “B corporations.”

“A benefit corporation is something that New Jersey adopted a few years ago,” he says. “As a benefit corporation, you have more flexibility in your decision making process when it comes to environmental impact or employee and community benefit, for example.”

Currently, Laratonda and his 15 “employees” are all volunteers of Treasure Circle. This is something of which he is extremely proud.

“We are enjoying what we do,” he concludes. “We want to help promote and support a lifestyle that builds wealth, helps the environment, creates jobs and supports a culture where people are able to give of themselves for the benefit of all. If we are doing that, then I feel we will succeed as a business.”

SCP Clearinghouse

Treasure Circle Featured On SCP Clearinghouse

SHOP WITHOUT MONEY™ SUSTAINABILITY ON TREASURECIRCLE.COM
Posted on 20/07/2015
SCP knowledge base, Lifecycle perspective, Sustainable urban development and cities, Sustainable lifestyles and consumption, Values and cultural change, Sustainable production and value chains, Corporate Social Responsability, Eco-innovation and sustainable design, Energy, Energy efficiency, Media, advertizing and marketing, Manufacturing, Retailing, Waste – All, Africa, Asia / Pacific, Europe, Latin America / Caribbean, North America, West Asia

 
UN Sustainability Treasure Circle Image
The Treasure Circle “Shop Without Money”™ service gives people a new way to shop by creating their own group of people or “Circle,” to receive or give-away unwanted consumer goods they own, in a new culture called the “Circular Economy”. Treasure Circle™ is an invention by Pollytix® founder Alberto Larotonda. It is being introduced as a benefit to the public and nonprofit organizations to remedy the crushing dependency and economic divide that money has created, and has eroded the quality of life in our 21st century.

Starting July 20th, 2015 ,Pollytix® is accepting public help through an Internet activity known as “crowd funding”, on Kickstarter.com, to help fund the completion and successful launch of Treasure Circle™ in the fall of 2015. Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pollytix/shop-without-moneytm-with-treasurecirclecom

Pollytix® looks to build a sense of community that many want today. People wish for a better economy and lifestyle that they can be a part of. The environment needs more friends. According to Mr. Larotonda, “Pollytix® looks to build a sense of community that many want today. People wish for a better economy and lifestyle that they can be a part of. The environment needs more friends. With Treasure Circle®, the simple act of shopping will make it happen.”

TreasureCircle.com helps anyone with unwanted or unneeded items due to many familiar situations such as; years of clutter in the home, relocation, a storage unit that needs to be emptied, or if it’s simply time to lighten the material possessions in your life. Unlike barter, these Treasure Circle™ things are freely given to others with a “Pay it Forward” ethic, while one can receive things just as easy, without using money and could be as local as one’s neighborhood.

How exactly does TreasureCircle.com work? Shop easily, safely and conveniently.

1)Sign up, or start with a free trial and create your confidential profile
2)Find other Treasure Circle™ users and invite them to join you in your own safe circle for money free shopping. You can also invite a nonprofit organization.
3)View existing offers for items available to you, or to all users
4)List your items that you wish to give away
5)Communicate with other TreasureCircle.com users to arrange pickup of an item
6)Return to website and look for more item giving or receiving opportunities.

The Circular Economy is new business thinking in the world, that addresses the reality of a global population that is using more energy and raw materials for its needs than it can soon replace. Buying sustainable or green often hides the one-way trip of consumer goods from factories to people to the landfill. Recycling saves some materials but also uses energy, while a surge of people’s idle and excess consumer goods is feeding a booming self-storage industry. “Going Circular” is the round trip that our civilization needs to take, where goods can be used over and over again in a circular flow of materials and energy that reduces waste while creating jobs. TreasureCircle.com™ leads the circular ideal with a new e-commerce by giving people a simple way to recirculate the things they don’t need, and shop for the things they do, by removing the middleman, “money” from the transaction. Hence, it’s slogan “Shop Without Money™”. TreasureCircle.com stays in motion from a small supporter’s membership and people benefit from unlimited transactions on its website.

About Treasure Circle™
TreasureCircle.com™ is invented by Pollytix®, a company whose mission is to help the nonprofit community and the people who work and volunteer for them. It offers the Shop Without Money™ service to liberate people from the crushing dependency and economic divide that money is bringing to our global society. Through Treasure Circle™, Pollytix® aims to create a lifestyle that builds ones wealth, helps the environment, creates jobs and supports a culture where people are able to give of themselves for the benefit of all. The technology behind TreasureCircle.com is patent pending.

About Pollytix®
Pollytix® was founded in 2012 by Alberto Larotonda, a veteran of the environmental, education and IT professions and citizen activist, who together with a team of dedicated volunteer professionals of all walks of life are building New Jersey’s first “Benefit Corporation”, a new legal form of for-profit company that has a nonprofit cause. Pollytix Benefit Corporation is built upon the practice of “social enterprise”, a new wave of businesses whose missions are to directly help society by using business methods.

Visit, Follow and Like at:
TreasureCircle.com
Twitter: @treasurecircle | twitter.com/treasurecircle
FaceBook: FaceBook.com/TreasureCircle

Two River Times

Two River Times Interview With Our CEO, Alberto Larotonda

Website to Give and Get

Posted in: Business on August 3, 2015

Two River Times AlRED BANK – Freeing oneself of excess, finding and filling your needs and possibly helping worthwhile organizations are possible, according to the founder of a new e-commerce site.

“There’s plenty of resources out there. We have a world overflowing with goods and a cash-poor society,” said Alberto Larotonda, whose soon-to-launched TreasureCircle.com, which he hopes will address the way we shop, making for a more sustainable world.

TreasureCircle.com, which is scheduled to be up and running in November, will allow not-for-profits as well as individuals to obtain and list goods without exchanging cash.

Larotonda sees this as advancing what is being labeled the “circular economy,” a marketing experiment that is under way elsewhere in the world. Proponents, including large corporate entities in Europe, have come to realize that the finite resources needed to manufacture their products are diminishing at an alarming rate. These manufacturers are acknowledging the increasing inability to obtain the needed material will have an impact on their profits and are looking at ways to reuse discarded items to continue making their products.

Red Bank resident Larotonda is taking that basic concept and localizing it in a way that can be a service to organizations and individuals.

“We removed the money picture,” with participants making items available for other members, he said.

How it works is not unlike a Craig’s List or other sites, where members list the items they would like to offer. But TreasureCircle.com combines elements of social networking with those of Craig’s List. Instead of putting a price tag on the item, or dickering with the potential buyer, whoever wants the item within the owner’s network would simply contact the person and take it off of his hands. And the receiver would have a list of things offered that others in the network could get if wanted.

“It’s sort of paying it forward,” Larotonda explained, taking the monetary factor out of the equation. “It doesn’t have to be a quid pro quo.”

In our consumer-driven economy, “The reality is there is an overabundance of goods,” with families’ garages and storage space packed. Many families have had to resort to renting additional storage space to hold everything, Larotonda pointed out.

But there is often a shortage of cash and there can still be a need for some items.

Individuals, who pay a $5 a month membership fee (like a buyers club), establish a network like they would have on Facebook, and those members would be able to exchange various needed items.

“This is something that doesn’t exist on the Internet,” Larotonda said.

TreasureCircle.com is an offshoot of Pollytix, a social benefit startup that Larotonda founded in 2012. Pollytix is the first social benefit corporation established in New Jersey, a for-profit entity that works to do good, which Larotonda operates out of his Spring Street home office and currently relies on the efforts of about 15 volunteers. “Nobody is collecting a salary,” at this point, he said.

He created the company with the mission “to help the non-profit community become financially self-sufficient,” he said. The benefit for non-profits is that they too can obtain needed items – office furniture, used computers, whatever – without spending their limited resources, freeing up those funds for other work. And “in doing that,” helping non-profits, he noted, “we reach the general public,” creating what Larotonda said would be “a sharing network.”

“For me it’s been a lifetime of experience,” that led to establishing Pollytix and TreasureCircle.com, he said.

Larotonda, 54, sees this effor t as a natural progression of his social and environmental activism. His “first love was environmental science,” working earlier in his career as a field inspector for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Later, utilizing his IT background, he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration at its facility at the Atlantic City Airport and then as an assistant instructor at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, managing the college’s environmental computer lab. Along with those efforts he felt driven to work with environmental groups and political organizations, working to break the monopoly the two major political parties have over the political system, because “I didn’t see I was having enough of an impact,” he said.

His most recent effort, he believes, will rethink the way we shop as well as allowing individuals support organizations they deem worthy. “This is something whose time has come,” he said.

– By John Burton