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The Art Of Being A Collaborative Consumer

By Nicola Saltman on November 26, 2013 in News

Photo: Ant Kery

Photo: Ant Kery

Recently labelled one of the ‘10 ideas that will change the world’ by TIME Magazine, collaborative consumption is not just about curbing our big buying habits; it’s about sharing the love. And judging from the local crowds exchanging used wares with their neighbours at the Garage Sale Trail each year, we don’t seem too bad at it.

Waverley Council residents recycled over 6700 tonnes of waste last year. In the same year, however, over double that amount of rubbish went to the tip – equivalent to 560 semi-trailer loads. In fact, Australians are amongst the highest waste generators in the world. Ouch.

In the wake of National Recycling Week this month, embracing the art of collaborative consumption is just one solution to this issue. Based on sharing access to products and services, it’s not a new concept, but it has gained a strong foothold in recent times with the help of online trading sites such as eBay, Gumtree and Airbnb. You can now also rent or borrow goods on websites such as Open Shed and Friends with Things, thus reducing the need to go out buy something you may only use once every blue moon.

Aside from the eco benefits of producing less rubbish, sharing stuff with strangers has side perks like saving dollars and making friends. Plus, there’s also that unavoidable feel-good factor.

The more people that do it, the better the offerings, so now is the time to get started. Here are several forays into collaborative consumption for you to Google and sample:

Open Shed – Turn the things sitting idle around your house into cash. Rent out your old lawnmower, toolkit, ski gear and more. You can even learn to belly dance with a DVD for only $1 a day!

Friends With Things – Borrow from local peeps or share things with them for free – from bicycles to power tools, cameras to sewing machines, everything you need is on this site.

Streetbank – A bit like the two sites above, Streetbank is a giant garden shed, toolkit, fancy dress chest, book and DVD library and skills bank for your neighbourhood.

Divvy – This site connects people who want to rent out their driveway,
apartment parking or garage with those who need to find a place to park their car. There are plenty in the Eastern Suburbs!

Gomi – Here you can list an abandoned item you see on the city streets and anyone can claim it. Think couches, TVs, cabinets, desks, trampolines and more.

Freebies – Give away stuff you don’t need and get things for free via smartphone apps and websites including Freecycle, Ziilch, OzRecycle, ReuseMoose, Yours2Take, Freally, Woznotalot, to name a few.

Secondhand Books – Instead of buying new books, join Waverley Library in Bondi Junction orr peruse the piles of used books at places like Gertrude and Alice Bookshop in Bondi. For the little peeps, there’s also the local toy library.

Wheels Without Worries – Use one of 70 share cars around Waverley LGA and avoid the hassle and cost of owning one. Check out the Waverley car share map on the council’s website for pods near you from Go Get, Hertz on Demand, Green Share Car and Car Next Door.
Happy recycling!