Kicking off the New Year with a declutter will not only put your home in order, but, especially when done sustainably, can also make you feel happier and more energised too. 

The weight of having so much stuff can be tiring, so perhaps it is time to free yourself of some clutter and rather than binning it, share it instead. And, on the other hand, if there’s anything you need, you could do the cost-effective and sustainable thing, and rather than shop for it, source it from your community’s local sharing economy scheme.

Increasingly we are seeing more communities creating their own sharing economies and establishing all sorts of innovative ways to distribute goods and services without monetary gain. This is particularly true following the coronavirus pandemic, where communities have pulled together to take care of each other as the need for localism has prevailed where governments have failed, all over the world. 

One person’s clutter is another person’s treasure…

Apps like Freegle and Olio are connecting neighbours and communities like never before in the UK, meaning that household items and even surplus food are being shared rather than thrown away. It’s like online dating for stuff! where people get matched with local things they need. This keeps everyone involved happy, whilst also doing our bit for the planet by preventing perfectly useful things/food from going to waste and doing damage as landfill.

What is a sharing economy?

A sharing economy, also known as a ‘gift economy’, relies on intangible rewards like a sense of contribution, community, honour, or prestige. The idea is that although gifts may not be directly reciprocated, broad participation leads to a system in which people give according to their abilities and receive according to their needs.

The idea is that people in a community agree to share their goods or in some cases to provide services to each other in exchange for other goods and services. This means that people within a local area can manage with fewer things by sharing. For example, where neighbours share gardening equipment and power tools, or organise car-sharing and children’s play-dates. 

A currency of sharing in Milton Keynes

Repair cafés, car-pooling, community fridges and ‘Free Little Library’ book-sharing boxes are all great examples of how communities in Milton Keynes are reducing, reusing, and recycling from creating their own sharing economy initiatives. 

Many UK Transition Town groups are often at the heart of these schemes. Here in Milton Keynes a number of our members also support one of the longest running sharing economies in town – LetNet. 

Operating its own unique alternative local currency called CCs (which is short for Concrete Cow credits) for the last 20 years, LetNet’s Local Exchange Trading Network is like a timebank or skill-swap. 

MK LetNet members simply trade CCs to give and receive all kinds of goods and services between them, which provides a perfect opportunity to getting things done without the need for money or the danger of getting into debt. 

But it is also important to remember that, just like all sharing economy networks, it depends on all of us for this collaborative community (of friends you don’t know yet) to keep these schemes going effectively. We look forward to seeing you contributing to the currency of sharing in MK this year with us now too.

Image source: flickr.com/photos/duncanh1/4914379424/

If you’d like to know more about Transition Town MK or any of our MK projects, visit: www.transitiontownmk.org or email: transitionmkinfo@gmail.com

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