How can we reduce the excess stuff in our lives? There are many community enterprises and initiatives aiming to help people be more sustainable, save money, reduce consumption, and swap, lend or recycle stuff they don’t need. There are also many services enabling people to share resources like time, as well as physical objects like tools or office space.
The ‘sharing economy‘ is a term often used to describe this trend towards consumer-to-consumer sharing (or business-to-business sharing). Because sharing or hiring (rather than buying) lowers resource usage and reduces waste, the concept is related to the ‘circular economy‘, which is about re-using or recycling products and materials as much as possible.
For the first Experience Design project in my Master of Design course, my group has chosen to look at how to connect people to community swap and share enterprises. We’re planning to design a service that can aggregate existing share services to enable users to find specific services relevant to them.
Here is some of our initial research…
Resources about community sharing/swapping
- Library of Things and spaces changing how we think about stuff – how these libraries become community assets
- Is the Library of Things an Answer to Our Peak Stuff Problem? The Guardian looks at community owned sharing enterprises
- Buy Sell Swap sites – Choice magazine review of online sharing sites
- Australian Gig and Sharing Economy Sites – a list of Australian sharing services, by category
- MyTurn – software for setting up lending libraries
- The Story of Stuff – a community/movement to reduce excess stuff!
Online community share/swap sites
- Camping: YouCamp – also Gamping – camp on private property
- Clothes: The Volte (borrow and lend designer fashion)
- Children’s stuff: Kindershare (share or hire baby equipment), Toy Libraries Australia (find a local toy library)
- Food & garden produce: Crop Swap Australia (local growers and gardeners swap produce)
- Finance: Community Exchange System (exchange goods & services without money) and SocietyOne marketplace lending (people lend to or borrow from others)
- Free/giveaways: Zilch, Freecycle, Facebook Pay It Forward Group Brisbane (also groups around the world)
- Household goods: Streetbank (neighbours giving away or lending things), Gumtree (consumers selling second-hand goods), Fat Llama (consumer-to-consumer rental service in the UK)
- Pet care: MadPaws, PetCloud (pet sitting)
- Space: Spacer (rent storage/room space), Divvy (rent parking space), RubberDesk (rent office space)
- Time: Economy of Hours (ECHO) – buy/sell/swap skills and time
- Tools & equipment: Brisbane Tool Library, ToolMates Hire, Library of Things (London library of tools, etc)
- Travel services: WithLocals (local travel guides), TransferTravel (buy/sell unused travel tickets),
- Vehicles: Camplify (rent camping vehicles), Car Next Door or GoGet (rent private cars near you)
Sharing economy communities or aggregators
- Sharing Hub – a community linking sharing platforms across Australia
- Sharemrkt – a Spanish-based hub for sharing services (to rent, swap, upcycle, hire or experience)
- Share N Save: a crowdsourced map of initiatives and skills in South Australia that “helps people use less resources through better sharing of what we already have”
- Live for Less – sustainable living for Brisbane folks