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article imageCollective consumption - save money and the environment Special

By Lynn Morris     Feb 17, 2011 in Lifestyle
Collective consumption is a new trend for our credit crunch times. According to proponents, it saves money, is good for the environment and brings communities together.
Collective consumption refers to sharing, borrowing, swapping or renting equipment and skills. Rather than buy a ladder or an expensive tool which you might only need once a month why not borrow one? Don’t splash out on a formal dress you are only going to wear once, rent one.
Websites are springing up which encourage people to lend or rent their belongings to their neighbours. These include streetbank , bidandborrow , ecomodo and swap.
Lynn Bunniss, 50, set up a collective consumption site last September called The Borrowers.
She believes it is a new form of recycling and hopes that in these cash strapped times collective consumption will appeal to more and more people as a way of saving money, making money and reducing their carbon footprint.
Ms Bunniss said: “Part of the business plan was looking at the debt in the UK, the job losses, interest rates going up, and people paying for their mortgages with credit cards. People should look at recycling the things they have lying around.”
She said renting things rather than selling them gives people the opportunity to keep using their things while making money from them.
Lynn Bunniss of The Borrowers
Lynn Bunniss of The Borrowers
Lynn Bunniss courtesy of The Borrowers
At the moment her site just covers the South West of the UK but she has plans to take it nationwide. She wants it to be fully functional by the 2012 Olympics.
Another site the Streetbank claims sharing things with your neighbours promotes good community relations.
It says: “By joining Streetbank you are saying to your neighbours, I’m interested in my community and I’m happy to lend a few of my things and help out in a few small ways. Knocking on a strangers' door is quite a bold thing to do. Streetbank reduces the barrier.”
These developments are made possible by the internet which makes advertising goods to a wide audience simple and provides an easy way for people to get in touch.
Many companies including Streetcar and Love Film have made successful businesses out of pioneering the collective consumption model.
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