Sustainability, waste avoidance and environmental protection have long since left their boring "eco" image behind. Today, strategies for conscious living are increasingly in vogue, across all generations. Sharing things with each other becomes more and more common. Conventional providers and young start-ups are taking advantage of sharing platforms and DIY solutions.
Our consumer behavior in recent decades leaves us with few alternatives other than to focus on conscious and sustainable living. This is the only way we can counteract climate change, protect endangered species from extinction and save the planet from choking on endless amounts of waste. But what has a serious background can also bring a lot of fun by getting involved and meeting new people in the process!
Sharing and re-using: Using and exchanging things together.
There are many ways to share unused things with others. If you used to knock on your neighbor's door to borrow the ladder, nowadays digital platforms enable whole new ways to borrow, share and use things together.
- Going on vacation, but your fridge is still full? You've bought way too much and won't be able to eat it all? There are platforms for this, where private sellers and buyers can network to save food from the trash.
- Also books, CDs and DVDs can be shared, check out online platforms in your country.
- For clothing and accessories, there are countless platforms on which to share and swap. Sharing counteracts the so-called fast fashion trend, i.e. the fast and low-threshold consumption of clothing. A similarly large exchange market has developed in the area of baby and children's clothes. Flea markets and second-hand stores, both analog and digital, are popular and well-visited places! FYI: According to Greenpeace, there are more than 5 billion pieces of clothing in German closets, of which not even half are worn regularly.
- Everyday objects, from bicycles to amplifiers to drills, can be lent and shared via platforms or Facebook groups - sometimes for a fee. The nice side effect: these platforms bring an anonymous urban neighborhood closer together again. Those who want to be left alone will be left alone; those who want to share and get in touch will find comrades-in-arms.
The downside of carsharing
The best-known "shared" item is probably the car, which otherwise is parked for an average of 23 hours a day. Why not use it efficiently and share it with others? Car-sharing models and providers are springing up like mushrooms, at least in the big cities. However, platforms on which private cars are shared smartly (including insurance) are now also used by commercial providers. In principle, this wouldn't be a problem if entire fleets weren't parking up public space and making it scarce. This is how carsharing is unfortunately reduced to absurdity.
Furniture, toys and everyday objects: Upcycling DIY
If you want to recycle used items yourself, you need a little creativity and some manual skills. Instructions for recycling à la Do It Yourself (DIY) abound on social media!
- One of the classics in upcycling, i.e. upgrading materials in its function, is certainly furniture made from old pallets. Such a "pallet bed", which used to be seen in almost every student digs, has long since got good company: Fancy shelves, cabinets, tables - the sky's the limit when it comes to imagination.
- The ideas for upcycling are so colorful and numerous that really everyone can get an inspiration here. If you are clever, you can furnish your entire apartment with little money, make your own clothes or decorate your balcony and garden: Old books become shelves, storage boxes or note holders, plastic bags become knitting yarn, plastic bottles become lampshades and rubber boots become flower pots.
- Upcycling is most fun with children: it promotes creativity and environmental awareness and brings a lot of fun. Plus, you can make your own new toys - sustainable and inexpensive.