How the Sharing Economy is Helping Us Live More Sustainably
December 11, 2020 • 5 min read
To start off with, what is the sharing economy? Within a capitalist structure, the sharing economy is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of resources. This economic model is defined as a peer-to-peer (P2P) based activity of acquiring, providing, or sharing access to goods and services that is often facilitated by a community-based platform.
So, for context, services that we are well-acquainted with such as ride-share apps (Uber, Lyft), home lending and rentals (CouchSurfing, Airbnb), clothing rental sites (Rent the Runway), bike sharing (Liquid, BixiBike), co-working offices (WeWork), etc., are all examples of what would fall under the sharing economy. These platforms have made a new way of interacting with services and goods, in a way where one can reap the benefits of them, without having to personally own them.
Ride-share apps have made transportation so much easier for those without a car, while allowing those with a vehicle to use theirs for purposes greater than just their own usage, helping them to generate extra income. The same goes for those with additional properties or rooms in their homes.
Statistics Canada has reported that the sharing economy has now become an annual $1.3 billion industry, which is only slightly smaller than Canada’s leading industries of fishing, hunting and trapping. Globally, the sharing economy is estimated to grow into a $335 billion industry by 2025.
In a world with too much, apps and services like this help us cut down on excess (we don’t all have to own a car, bike, an office space, or stay in typical accommodation when we travel anymore). These services allow us to move around in the world in an unencumbered manner, helping us align with the new age quest for minimalism, and a “less is more” approach. Additionally, we’re able to earn money in very unique ways, whether renting out our goods and services is a side hustle or a full-time gig.
In this way, the sharing economy doesn’t just revolve around give-and-take, but it’s helped push us into a more community-based way of thinking, where we come together to solve problems and interact with each other, rather than the typical structure that’s far less personal and based on single interactions.
As this modern iteration of a sharing economic structure grows and evolves, we’re seeing some really incredible platforms develop out of a need for sustainability and less consumption, as well as the current issue many millennials face – financial and spatial constraints.
Ruckify is a new platform that takes the idea of ride-shares and the like a step further, providing easy access to rentals. Anything can be rented, from muffin trays to chainsaws, photography backdrops to barbecues. For those of us who can’t afford to stock our homes with expensive kitchen tools like Vitamix’s or KitchenAids, or for those of us who are city-dwellers living in tiny apartments, Ruckify’s approach lets us rethink ownership of material things. This nod to that bygone era of borrowing a cup of sugar from the neighbour is seeing a resurgence, where self-pride has been shifted from material possessions to groupthink and collaborative consumption.
As the dominant generation shifts to a younger demographic, so too does our pursuit of a better life. And while “a better life” may have been property, appliances and possessions in our parent’s age, the too real effects of climate change that we’re living through means something different for millennials and Gen Zers. Ruckify and the sharing economy lets us participate with ease in a way that is more neighbourly, helping us reduce clutter and consumption.
I was given the chance to tour Ruckify’s interface and rent my own item. With the holidays approaching, I thought a fun, non-material gift would be cookie boxes to drop off to friends. Given that I’m not a great baker, I jumped on Ruckify’s site to see if I could rent a donut hole maker. They had one in stock, and a few days later it found its way to my doorstep using the Ruckify Express delivery system. After finding a recipe I liked, I made the donut holes and added them into my gift boxes. I had the donut hole maker for a week, plenty of time to make, bake and clean the item, ready for pickup on Monday. The entire process was so seamless and easy, and I felt great knowing I was not only lowering my impact with less waste + using an item that was already in circulation, but that I was helping a renter make some extra side cash using the items she already owned.
Ruckify is an impressive, growing platform, one that shifts our relationship to material goods, and helps us live lighter. We’re already seeing such a difference in the way people are shopping during this holiday season, with the advocation of shopping small, shopping local and only shopping if necessary, instead of the mindless “add to cart” on Amazon for things we probably won’t use very often.
The purchasing frenzies are on their way out, and community-driven marketplaces are in.
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