Why Not Consider “Collaborative Consumption” for Christmas

December 17th, 2010

How much stuff do you own that you will never use, DVD’s, old clothes, books, furniture, toys, appliances, gadgets, tools or even unused space? Do you have anything around your home or business that you don’t really use, and might be of benefit to someone else?

This Christmas, instead of traditional “Consumption”, why not have a think about sharing (and maybe even save money or make some extra cash in the process).

Australians, with their ingrained sense of mateship  have always been pretty good at sharing, but the internet is now making it much easier to share. Advances in technology mean trading, sharing, swapping and recycling is on the increase online and it is primarily the Gen Y’s and Millenniums driving this. Baby boomers are also increasingly seeing the environmental and financial benefits of sharing things as retirement looms.

It is estimated every year Aussies buy $10 billion worth or items they will never use. Those items waste money, take up space and destroy the environment.

‘Hyper-consumption’ is what has been driving world economies but the bubble is bursting. People are starting to review their values, and are ‘smarting up’ to the  unsustainable parts of modern life – enter ‘Collaborative Consumption’.

Collaborative Consumption is a term that we will be hearing a lot more about. There are a growing number of online services that allow Collaborative Consumption to thrive and for some amazing examples of how we can save money, space, the environment, and even make some cash on the side, take a look at :

  • Freecycle – a worldwide  movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.
  • 99 Dressses – an infinite wardrobe of fashion
  • Zopa – Where people meet to lend or borrow money
  • Etsy – Buy and Sell handmade Products
  • SpaceOut – Rent Out your Unused Space

A new book entitled “What is mine is yours” (Rachel Botsman – Author)  describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing (see http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com). The book describes the  rapid explosion in swapping, sharing, bartering, trading and renting being reinvented through the latest technologies and peer-to-peer marketplaces in ways and on a scale never possible before.

But collaborative consumption is not limited to “stuff” there are plenty of other things that can be shared.

With  53,000 self storage units in the USA alone (more than McDonalds and Starbucks combined), and over 1,000 in Australia, the need  for storage space is an increasing. The concept of sharing space by renting out private spare or unused space is a relatively new concept.  Property owners are becoming aware that by renting out an unused garage or driveway for parking, or a spare garden shed or bedroom for storage, they can generate extra income.

Online services like SpaceOut (www.spaceout.com.au) (which caters for a variety of different types of space rentals, including parking, storage, office space and even rural spaces for rent,  make it easy for owners with spare or unused space, to advertise, and put them in touch with people in their own area wanting to rent a space.

Whilst modern societies attitude to “Consumerism” seems unlikely to change in a hurry, it is refreshing to see that alternatives such as Collaborative Consumption are increasingly being considered as serious options.

  1. Ivan
    December 17th, 2010 at 12:10 | #1

    Yes, this stuff deserves more attention in the media. Full marks!

Comments are closed.

Feedback Form