Conscious Consumption, General ramblings, One Planet Living

One Planet Buying – Borrowing

OK, so we’re already halfway through our month of ‘conscious consumption’ or One Planet Buying (trying to find the things we need or want, and still stay within the resource constraints of the planet) and before we get on to the whole ‘buying’ bit of One Planet Buying, I want to spend some time highlighting some brilliant alternatives to dashing out and buying brand new stuff whenever we need (or want) things.
Last week I used the quite brilliant Buyerarchy of Needs from Sarah Lazarovic as a framework for alternatives to buying new.

According to this the first stage in the ‘Buyerarchy’ is Making Do.
Now, having spent the whole of January Making Do, we are all hardened experts at this bit (if you aren’t, then you can find lots of Making Do tips and inspiration right here) so we’re skipping merrily up the Buyerarchy to Borrowing.
With the advent of the ‘Sharing Economy’ there are so many more ways to borrow stuff now, aside from books from the library.
Here are some of my faves:

– Books from the library
I know, I know, I just said that there were lots of different ways of getting your share on, other than borrowing books from the library, but please don’t discount it!
I LOVE our local library (I’ve written about it before) – it’s a brilliant place to while away an hour with the kids on a rainy afternoon, and it’s enabled us to keep up with BigSmall’s voracious appetite for books without either bankrupting us or filling the house to bursting with reading matter.

– Libraries of Things
I’m lucky enough to live near the very first Share Shop to open in the UK, in Frome in Somerset, and since then the team at The Library of Things have opened up in London.
The concept is beautifully simple, you pay a small membership fee to join, and you can then  borrow anything from preserving pans for jam making, to tents for festival camping for a weekly fee.
It means that if there are things that you only use once or twice a year, you don’t have to fork out for a new one, and you don’t have to find the storage space in your house for it either.

– Tool Libraries
Here in the UK, we are lagging behind our North American cousins with this one. Tool Libraries are a relatively common thing in Canada, but over here we have only one, the very excellent Edinburgh Tool Library.

They work in a similar way to the Libraries of Things, and you can borrow all the tools you need for DIY and home renovations.

– Streetbank
I’ve written about Streetbank several times in the past – you can sign up and then post things on there that you own that you would be happy to lend out to your neighbours. Have you got an ice cream maker lurking in your cupboards that only comes out a couple of times a year, or a hedge trimmer tucked away in the garage? And obviously you can also check out the listings local to you to see if anyone has anything you could borrow.

– Borrow it App
I haven’t tried out the Borrow it app, but it seems like quite an interesting concept. You can browse or search on the app for the things you want, and then pay a small fee to the lender to borrow them. I guess it’s kind of building on the Uber/Air BnB type model of the Sharing Economy – would be really interested to know if anyone has tried it out, and how they found it.

– Lastly, when it comes to sharing, I would say ‘Just Ask’. If you need something, ask friends and family, post on your Facebook page, ask around at work. You would be surprised how often I have needed something and a quick post on my personal Facebook page later, and I have several offers from friends!

You can find more posts on borrowing in this post here, as well as a list of Sharing Sites that I put together several years ago – it is in need of updating, but it does go to show what a wealth of sharing and borrowing opportunities there are out there, and what a caring sharing bunch we actually are 🙂

Have you guys tried any of these places/sites/apps? Would love to hear your sharing and borrowing experiences – comment below or hop over to join the Facebook community and ‘share’ away in there!

PS. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date with all the One Planet Living latest, and to get my monthly round up of resources and inspiration for living more lightly 🙂


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  • Reply Sarah Gilmore February 18, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Another thing we have done is rent costumes for a dress up party from the very cool theatre costume hire in our town. And last Christmas we made a quick trip to our op (charity)shop and spent $7 on a red shirt, some Xmas earrings and tinsel for my hair. The morning after the office party we washed and donated our festive fashion back again.

    • Reply Jen February 23, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Love these ideas Sarah, thank you for sharing!

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