|Image from deathtothestockphoto.com|
The sharing economy, also known as collaborative consumption, is all about sharing items for other people to use, take off your hands at no cost or sometimes a small fee. The idea is based on community based living and is the resurgence of a centuries old community pillar.
“There are 80 million power drills in America that are used an average of 13 minutes.”
Brian Chesky CEO of Airbnb - Welcome to the ‘Sharing Economy
I wonder what the number in Australia would be?
As the 'sharing economy' gathers more active members it will hopefully help alleviate product waste. It is a system that works both economically and more importantly environmentally by moving items from a linear process and into a cycle. Sharing is a key component of not only zero waste living but also fundamental sustainability.
Here are my top five sharing websites for finding that thing you need for free plus one easy idea too.
Over the weekend the Builder had soil delivered to the house. There was left over soil from his project and he decided to give it away for free. Within hours of him posting the advert (see his beautiful photo below) to Gumtree the soil was picked up. Sign up is completely free and is geared mostly towards recycled products, amongst others.
If you are looking to create space by getting rid of that rice cooker, have spare photo frames you would like to pass on or baby gear then sign up to TuShare and put them onto the free market. Users can choose to arrange free pick up or pay door-to-door delivery. The website is a breeze to use and is free.
“TuShare is an online marketplace where every item is free. We believe in generosity and gratitude, so you can join the community and give or receive items right away.”
Users can either share or rent items that they have or need. Available items can range from household gadgets to musical instruments. For example if I was having friends over for a movie night I could rent a projector and screen. Users are required to pay a small fee to rent the items.
“We CAN make use of the latest gadgets, still have exciting life experiences and de-clutter our lives at the same time through sharing what we have with other people.”
The Free Cycle Network has been growing a fan base of over 7 million members the last eleven years with a group base of over 5000. I am a member of the Melbourne group and receive emails daily listing wears that are on offer in my city.
The Clothing Exchange
I have written before about my love for The Clothing Exchange events. They are also online offering users an interactive space to swap clothes. Read more about them in this blog post about sharing.
Bonus! Another way to find a gadget is to ask your family and friends. Send out an email or a text; announce your request on Facebook. Through word of mouth I was able to get my hands on a food processor. It alleviated the prior owner’s clutter in their kitchen and made my life easier.
Have you tried sharing websites? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.