The sharing economy is based in community, around connection, and sharing resources.
It's as simple as borrowing something instead of running out and buying something BRAND NEW.
Many times, we don't need to own something because we only need it for a short period of time.
Think borrowing a cake pan for a specialty cake, renting a tent for a camping trip, or renting a ball gown for prom.
Many of the items we buy sit and collect dust so what if we could do away with all of that?
Thanks to the sharing economy - we are! We often use the sharing economy in our day to day lives like Lyft, Uber, and even Air BnB!
Now, you might be wondering, how does this relate to the environment?
Well, I’m so glad you asked! We currently live in a linear economy which means we take resources from the planet, turn them into products, and once we’re done with them we dump them into a giant hole in the ground where they’ll live forever. Doesn’t make much sense right?
Living a zero-waste lifestyle is about moving to a circular economy where our resources can be used over and over and over again. To learn more about the circular economy check out this post What is Zero Waste? What is the Circular Economy?
While most of the circular economy hinges on design and corporate responsibility, there are still ways we can replicate that in our day to day lives like sharing resources i.e. participating in the sharing economy.
By sharing, we're keeping our precious resources in play much longer which is way more eco-friendly than buying something using it a few times and then throwing it away.
Thanks to technology, sharing is easier than ever!
One of the original examples of the sharing economy is the library. It's a place where you can go, check out a book, have it for a short period of time, and then bring it back so someone else to read it.
It's your community sharing resources, it's that simple!
When you heading to a fancy event, why buy a dress you'll probably only wear once or twice when you could rent a dress?
Why buy your smartphone? Many people upgrade to the latest and greatest phone every two years. If you're one of those people, why continue to add to the waste stream when you could just rent your device?
As a bonus, renting things is often much cheaper than owning them! A great example of this is Raylo. You can rent your phone and then once you're in the mood to upgrade all you have to do is send your old phone back.
Once you're finished with your phone, through their reuse program they make sure all of their devices stay in circulation and have a second life.
Once the case can no longer be reused the recycle the phones R2 certified recycling partners ensure the most responsible management of your old phone.
And, did we mention that if you choose to rent the latest and greatest model of phone it comes with a free Pela Case??
Have you seen bike-sharing programs in your city? The bikes are typically housed in a bike rack and you can rent them while you head to your destination and then park them when you're done with your errands!
This is perfect if you're trying to get somewhere in a hurry or if you don't have room to store a bike in your apartment.
With Uber and Lyft it's easier than ever to get around without owning a car. Lyft is completely carbon neutral as they buy carbon offsets for every one of their rides - how cool is that!?
When you're on vacation, finding a place to stay is easier than ever. You can just rent a room for a few nights complete with a kitchen. This makes lowering your waste on vacation MUCH easier.
And, lastly food. One of my favorite new apps is Olio. If you haven't heard of it, it's a great way to share food with your neighbors. If you wind up with a bunch of leftovers that you can't eat you can just post them on your account and someone can grab them!