How Sharing Can Help Change Consumption Culture


Published:

© Tom Britt via Flickr

Tucked into the corner of the laundry room in my apartment building in New York City, New York, is a little free library created from a bookcase that was salvaged from a neighbor’s trash. Nearby sits a repurposed plastic hamper marked “Free Stuff.” For fifteen years the library has been providing residents with free reading material while the Free Stuff box has been serving as a convenient way to pass along gently-worn household goods for others to use.

Representing just two good examples of what can be viewed as a hyper-local form of the sharing economy, these free, low-tech amenities also help our building’s residents prevent a lot of stuff from winding up in the trash, bringing a potential raft of benefits to all New Yorkers.

New York City has an ambitious zero-waste plan, but the recycling rate is around 17 percent, according to the city’s Department of Sanitation. Meanwhile, a great deal of what ends up in the waste stream is reusable like furniture and other household goods. So it makes sense for us to consider ways to keep such items circulating with our local economy, starting with our own buildings and neighborhoods.

All around the world, local communities are exploring fresh new ideas beyond the traditional white elephant sales and thrift shops for stretching resources, cutting down on waste, and making social connections. We can begin the process of shifting our consumption culture to one that is less wasteful and more regenerative for our society and economy. The possibilities are endless.

Here are five good ways to start:

1. Take advantage of public services such as Stop ‘n’ Swaps and free public community reuse events run by GrowNYC at local greenmarkets, and support efforts to bring them to more communities.

2. If you don’t already, give items away on FreeCycle. Sign up for NextDoor.com, a new website that allows neighbors to borrow items from each other. Consult the DonateNYC page or a similar resource on your city's website to find folks who want your stuff.

3. Encourage more local library branches to lend items of interest to local residents, like Sacramento’s Library of Things, where residents can borrow sewing machines, musical instruments, and board games, or the four branches of the Queens Public Library that lend job seekers neckties. Also, launch and support local tool libraries like the South Street Seaport Tool Library, where residents of lower Manhattan can borrow a number of tools.

4. Declare Sunday evening as “clear out the fridge night” and invite neighbors and friends to pool still edible leftovers. Get inspired by community refrigerators and little free pantries that are sprouting up all over the world to share food with neighbors and co-workers.

5. Repurpose an Amazon or other carton (which are certainly plentiful these days) into a “Free Stuff” box in your own building or workplace.

It might seem strange that our waste can be a source of connection and a way to build in some economic resilience. But with the potential benefits we all can enjoy as a city and as individuals, it makes sense to try. All it takes is a neighbor or two willing to get the ball rolling in their apartment building, office break room, senior center, or other public space. Will it be you? 

Check out more resources on how to share, borrow, donate, and gift your stuff on wehatetowaste.com.

This article was republished from Shareable.

See also:
How To Create An Outdoor Living Room In Your Neighborhood
ZeroLandfill Project Upcycles Free Materials For Artists And Educators

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

January 21, 2019

Minutes after midnight the Leo Moon is Full. This is a complex, powerful Supermoon, when the Moon is closest to earth in its orbit. The Moon’s gravitational impact on tides as well as emotions is maximized. Expect shocking revelations, sudden endings and…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2019

Join acupuncturist and eastern medicine specialist Linda Davis to: 1) Learn and practice a simple method to access your pendulum’s divination powers; 2) experience various types of...

Cost: $20–$25

Where:
Portal Crystal Gallery
489 Massachusetts Ave
Arlington, MA  02474
View map »


Telephone: 781-859-5373
Website »

More information

Once used as a diagnostic tool for physicians, the palms and hands give us insight into physical health and emotional well-being. Learning to decipher the differences in hands and the meanings...

Cost: $250

Where:
The Soul Purpose
1225 Gar Highway
Swansea, MA  02777
View map »


Sponsor: The Soul Purpose
Telephone: 774-264-1329
Contact Name: Jessica Kozak
Website »

More information

Celebrating the new year, the new you!  Come detox, relax and get your new year readings while you recharge in our sanctuary! We have a fun line up of readers and healers providing...

Cost: $60- 3 Service package special; $25 - single service

Where:
Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Road
Suite A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

Did you know that forgiveness heals? It can reduce depression, ease anxiety, increase our well-being, and facilitate the body's natural healing response. Many of us may get the concept of...

Cost: $60

Where:
private office
North Andover, MA  01845


Sponsor: Diana Harris
Telephone: 978-973-6637
Contact Name: Diana Harris
Website »

More information

The most powerful things in the universe are invisible. Energy which is the most powerful of physical and spiritual forces is invisible. The most precious and important things that matter in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Inner Space Meditation Center & Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Telephone: 617-547-1110
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

MBSR: Mindful Based Stress Reduction Mindfulness, as taught in the MBSR program, is recognized worldwide as the gold standard in mindfulness training and is one of the greatest...

Cost: Free

Where:
Life Care PT
38 Southwest Cutoff
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »


Sponsor: The Center for Resilient Living
Telephone: 508-556-7022
Contact Name: Ginny Wholley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you.” —Krishnamacharya Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using...

Cost: $30 (limited hardship rates available)

Where:
Spontaneous Celebrations
45 Danforth Street
Jamaica Plain, MA  02130
View map »


Telephone: 617-233-6410
Contact Name: Allen B. Howell
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Listen as Lauren channels messages from loved ones to prove you are never alone. An intimate event with tested and endorsed research medium.  Visit website for tickets. Doors open at 6:30...

Cost: $50

Where:
The Spiritual Path with Lauren Bortolami
129 N. Main Street
Mansfield, MA  02048
View map »


Sponsor: Lauren Bortolami Robbins
Telephone: 508-339-8111
Contact Name: Lauren Robbins
Website »

More information

With Sherri Snyder-Roche. This yoga workshop will explore self-compassion, self-love and pushing through discomfort to help your recovery process. Recovery from divorce, eating disorders,...

Cost: $95 for 6 weeks or $17 drop in

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 E. Hartford Avenue, Unit A
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Women Rising Together—Women’s Workshop This workshop is designed for women who are facing a challenge and would like to come together with other spiritually minded women to explore...

Cost: $25

Where:
Apple Tree Arts
1 Grafton Common
Grafton, MA  01519
View map »


Contact Name: Christine Johnson

More information

Intuitive medium Laura Wooster is honored to present this evening of spirit messages from your loved ones on the other side. She will deliver evidential messages of love, hope, and comfort from...

Cost: $25

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Holistic Problem-Solving with Dr. HermanSJr. Tired of missing opportunities that could further your life, your education, even your work? Tired of missing threats that continue to hold back your...

Cost: $100

Where:
Caffe Nero
368 Congress Street
Boston, MA  02210
View map »


Telephone: 321.30.PSYCH(7792)
Contact Name: Soni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Instructor: Stacey Piwinski Adult Level Spend half a winter’s day working with warm, cozy, and colorful yarn! Each participant will learn to weave their own circular weaving, starting...

Cost: $65

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Peyton Pugmire
Website »

More information

Start this intensive January 26 This is an excellent series for those who are on a healing journey of any sort, as we access the Akashic field of energy to clear your path and...

Cost: $860 or three payments of $366

Where:
, MA


Telephone: (978) 835-0005
Contact Name: Nancy

More information

Holistic Problem-Solving with Dr. HermanSJr. Tired of missing opportunities that could further your life, your education, even your work? Tired of missing threats that continue to hold back your...

Cost: $100

Where:
Caffe Nero
368 Congress Street
Boston, MA  02210
View map »


Telephone: 321.30.PSYCH(7792)
Contact Name: Soni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags