Embrace the sharing economy beyond Earth Day
The sharing economy is flourishing, leading to a stronger sense of community and environmental benefits. It’s a trend that facilitates peer-to-peer exchange of goods and services for everything from bicycles to lodging.
In many ways, our culture values experiences rather than ownership of things. Take the Marie Kondo movement, for example: Self-proclaimed minimalists find bliss in a life without the bookshelf of odds and ends. All over Oregon, community organizations are hearing the call and creating ways to reduce waste and excess by sharing with others.
How can we support a sharing economy in Oregon? Let’s explore a few ideas.
One easy place to start is at your local second-hand store. Thrift stores, like Goodwill and Salvation Army will accept and repurpose old shoes, furniture, dishes, linens and toys. You can even recycle stained or ripped clothing. Check Goodwill’s and the Salvation Army’s websites for locations near you. Did you know the average American throws away about 70 pounds of clothing every year? Show your support for the planet by giving others a chance to take your donated items for a second spin. And make sure to search your local thrift store first for inexpensive, fun and unique items for your home and closet.
Tool libraries are another way to reduce waste and inspire all of your DIY dreams. These community centers promote equity, sustainability and good old-fashioned neighborly connections. Community members can easily join the tool library to gain free access to a wide variety of tools and classes. It’s the perfect solution for those items that you rarely use but are an absolute must for that home improvement project. Rather than buying your own hand saw, level, paint brush, or lawn mower, go the sustainable route and share it with your neighbors! Tool libraries also serve as community centers for events such as “Fix-It Fairs and Repair Cafes” where local “fixers” will help you bring new life to broken household items or damaged clothing. Do an internet search for tool libraries, Fix-It Fairs and Repair Cafes near you.
Our third tip for reusing and reducing your waste is to connect with your neighbors via online networks such as Craigslist, Next Door, OfferUp, or Buy Nothing Facebook groups. These online communities allow individuals to give or sell belongings to neighbors. They are great waste reduction tools, and also an uplifting reminder of human generosity and caring for community health.
This year, let’s challenge ourselves, family and friends to embrace the sharing economy as a way to reuse and reduce waste. It’s easy, good for the planet, and a great way to help build healthy communities.
This post was contributed by AOR Gold Sponsor Waste Management, and authored by Hanna Scholes, Waste Management’s education and outreach manager. Learn more about what can be recycled at RecycleOftenRecycleRight.com.