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 22, 2018

An hour before dawn the waxing Aries Moon aligns with the Aquarius Sun to give early birds liftoff. Progress could be briefly interrupted when a lunar square with Saturn soon follows. Expect delays during the morning commute. A secondary route could be…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2018

Note: Tickets must be purchased here: http://bit.ly/2j2U7C4 Do you desire more emotional and physical connection? Does fear of being rejected or looking foolish hold you back from initiating...

Cost: $127/person; $247/couple

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
22 Mount Auburn St
Watertown, MA  02472
View map »


Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

A 3-week Course Taught by Melissa Fountain, CSYT Sundays: 10:30am–12:15pm January 21, 28 and Feb 11 Meditation is a sacred gift you give yourself, and brings new vitality and focus...

Cost: Early Bird Pricing (until Jan 20): $140 for all 3 sessions ($155 after Jan 20)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
40 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Are you curious about yoga but don't know where to begin? The Intro to Yoga Series is a great place to start your practice. This series will provide a safe, non-competitive and welcoming...

Cost: $90 for series

Where:
YogaLife Institute
6 Chestnut St, Suite A
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Telephone: 603-969-8968
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Qigong and tai chi are 2500+ year old healing arts originating in China. These moving meditations offer unique health benefits that western medicine is...

Cost: $11-$15 per class

Where:
Chelmsford Wellness Center
3 Littleton Road, 2nd Floor
Westford, MA  01886
View map »


Sponsor: Cultivating Qi
Telephone: 978-856-8118
Contact Name: Dave Crocker
Website »

More information

January 8 - February 12, 2018 Intuition + Energy Medicine + Energy Psychology = The REAP Healing Method This 6 week certification training course provides you with the understanding and the...

Cost: $695

Where:
Live Online
Comfort of Your Home
, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The REAP Healing Method
Telephone: 978-877-8651
Contact Name: Pamela Dussault
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

3 Hour Introduction Diet and exercise play a role in managing your weight, but; that isn’t the whole story.   80% of dieters weigh the same or more within three months of starting...

Cost: $49

Where:
The Center for Resilient Living Clearly Coworking
474 Grove St.
Worcester, MA  01605
View map »


Sponsor: The Center for Resilient Living and Adventure Boot Camp
Telephone: 508-963-4786
Contact Name: Ginny Wholley
Website »

More information

Experience the power of singing gospel music with more than 250 others as part of the Mystic Chorale, led by award-winning director and composer, Jonathan Singleton. Join Mystic as we prepare...

Cost: $105

Where:
First Parish Unitarian
630 Mass Ave.
Arlington , MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Mystic Chorale
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur Annamaria
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Qigong and tai chi are 2500+ year old healing arts originating in China. These moving meditations offer unique health benefits that western medicine is integrating into treatment plans. By...

Cost: $12-$17 per class

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Ceneter
176 Jackson Road
Devens, MA  01434
View map »


Sponsor: Cultivating Qi
Telephone: 978-856-8118
Contact Name: Dave Crocker
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 26 - 28, 2017 Journey to the heart, a shamanic sound healing training level 1 Join David Kuhn shamanic sound healer for a transformational weekend. David will share the basics of...

Cost: $222

Where:
Sound
31 Hawleyville Road
Newtown, VT  06479
View map »


Sponsor: David Kuhn
Telephone: 802-579-5771
Contact Name: David Kuhn
Website »

More information

6 Week Series with Sherri Snyder-Roche Start your year with greater awareness. In Kundalini Yoga, we harness the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and put them under the...

Cost: $90

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 East Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

With Rev. Rita Berkowitz Are you ready to become a professional medium and meet the criteria that would be required of you, ethically and practically? Are you ready to work with the public and...

Cost: $600 (Early Bird $550)

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

All are invited to the 2nd annual Lincoln, MA Holistic Wellness Fair on January 27. We are also seeking holistic practitioners from the locales of Lincoln, MA and surrounding towns, to participate...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bemis Hall
15 Bedford Rd
Lincoln, MA  01773
View map »


Sponsor: Lincoln Recreation
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur Annamaria

More information

Dates: Saturday, January 27 and Saturday, February 3. This two-day class is for those want to go deeper into their personal healing journey with the system of Reiki and who want to strengthen...

Cost: $275

Where:
Bancroft Doggone U
333 Shrewsbury Street
Worcester, MA  01604
View map »


Sponsor: Bancroft Doggone U
Telephone: 508-753-9757
Contact Name: Lisa Ruthig
Website »

More information

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