The sharing economy is an exciting new way for the community to come together and share things like household items, transportation and home grown food with neighbours. Sharing is a fun way to build stronger communities while helping to reduce our carbon footprint.
Sharing means less has to be produced in the first place and less will be thrown out and end up in landfill. It also means that much of what is shared will be locally produced, thus reducing transport emissions.
If you think about it, most of us have household tools and appliances sitting idle most of the time. The sharing economy is a great way share the abundance of stuff we own with our family, friends and neighbours.
It’s also a great opportunity to connect with others in your area through a community garden, tool library or food swap, or in a multitude of other ways.
Ways to share
There are lots of ways you can take part in the sharing economy. Here are just a few ideas:
Car sharing gives you access to cars parked near you for regular or occasional use. You don't have the upfront cost of a car or the worry of maintaining it, and you can choose from different kinds of vehicles, including vans. Emissions are saved because sharing means fewer cars are produced, and car sharers tend to drive less often. Car sharing also means fewer cars spending most of their lives in parking spots that take up scarce city space.
Car sharing options include GoGet, GreenCarShare, Flexicar and Car Next Door. If you Google 'car sharing' and add your location you'll find the nearest options for you (although they are not yet in all states, and may not be available in regional areas).
Car Next Door is a neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing initiative. Car owners who do not need their vehicle all the time make it available to people who just need a car occasionally.
Co-working is a modern twist on the shared office, and brings freelancers, small business owners and start-ups together under the one roof in a collaborative work environment. Co-working can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions through shorter commute times to work and greater efficiencies of resource use including electricity, air conditioning and Wi-Fi. Co-working spaces often involve the re-use of existing inner urban factories and warehouses. To find out what co-working facilities are available near you, just Google 'co-working' and your locality.
Some great sharing websites
Community gardens are a great way for people to garden together, especially if they have little or no garden space of their own. Participants usually have their own plots to grow veggies, herbs, flowers etc., but there can be common plots or informal sharing of produce.
Community compost bins can also be located in the gardens, and local people may be able to add their compostable material, and take compost, whether or not they have a garden plot.
The gardens can be located on land owned by councils or other public authorities, including public housing estates.
Community gardens provide exercise, absorbing and rewarding activity, pleasant social interaction and the opportunity to share what's been grown, as well as often leading to other forms of collaboration. They reduce carbon by generating local food that's unpackaged and unprocessed, and by recycling organic material. Check the links in the garden section of this site for more information on this.
Yarra Sharing Map
In October 2014, Livewell Yarra was a partner in the creation of the 'Yarra Sharing Map' which is a community resource showing sharing services in the City of Yarra.
Although this was a Yarra-specific event, we have kept it on the website as an example of something you might do in your locality to identify the kinds of sharing that's occurring there.
Mapping makes community assets more visible and creates a foundation for further community development. Higher awareness of shared assets can lead to more collaborations between sharing projects and new project ideas to fill in the gaps. The map shows who’s available to organise things and what resources can be connected, and make us better sharing advocates.