Community sharing and swapping in the circular economy

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

Online community share/swap sites

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
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