With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
It’s that time of year again: As you read this, Halloween candy aisles are being cleared out to make way for twinkle lights and giant plastic reindeer. Yep, the holiday shopping season has begun.
In response to years of shoppers being trampled on Black Friday as they rush for the hottest toy, a conscious consumerism movement is brewing around the holiday season. Patagonia lifted it into the mainstream in 2011, when it took out a full-page ad in the New York Times with the message “Don’t Buy This Jacket” emblazoned over its best-selling coat. The brazen ad asked shoppers “to buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime on this jacket or anything else.”
Patagonia, along with several other forward-thinking retailers, have continued this trend — refusing to open their doors on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in defiance of overconsumption.
So this year, before you max out the credit card buying items you (and the folks on your holiday list) may not really need, consider swapping and sharing with your neighbors instead. You can score cool new-to-you stuff for dirt cheap (or even free), rid yourself of items you no longer use and even help others in the process. Now, doesn’t that sound better than standing in line outside the mall at 2 a.m.?
Read on for five of our top picks.
NeighborGoods allows you to borrow and lend with your neighbors rather than buying new. Need a power tool for a home improvement project? Borrow one from your neighbor. Have a pair of skates gathering dust? Offer them up and make a new friend. The Web-based platform makes it all a breeze, and you can even flag a user for failing to return your items.
NeighborGoods only operates within the U.S. International swappers should check out StreetBank, a U.K.-based sharing platform with a similar model that allows neighbors to share their stuff.
Wallapop is a user-friendly and visually appealing way to buy and sell with folks in your community. Browse through photos of furniture, electronics and other stuff your neighbors no longer want, and chat with sellers directly through the app. If you’re looking to get rid of some extra stuff, simply take a photo of your items and list in on Wallapop in about 30 seconds.
Wallapop operates in six cities: New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.
If Wallapop isn’t operating in your city, you may have more luck with OfferUp — a similar model that allows neighbors to buy and sell used goods for free. Nick Huzar and Arean van Veelen, new fathers who were disappointed at the lack of options for swapping kids toys locally, founded OfferUp in 2011 — with the aim to make buying and selling as easy as taking a photo.
With a single snap, you can take a photo of an unwanted item and instantly circulate it to people nearby. Interested buyers can then message you with one click. The company claims the whole process can take as little as 30 seconds.
Four years old is basically veteran status in the sharing economy, so OfferUp knows what’s up. The company puts an emphasis on safety and trust, with an Airbnb-esque identity verification system in place. Like other sharing economy platforms, users rate each other, so it’s easy to figure out who’s flaky and who’s likely to come through with the item they committed to buy or sell.
4. Carma Carpooling
Share your ride with this awesome app that makes carpooling easy. Just open the app to find nearby people going your way and arrange to share your commute. Drivers can make a few extra dollars by sharing seats in their car, or they can choose to give free rides by adding passengers to their ‘favorites’ list on the app.
Carma now operates in nine cities across the U.S., including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This nonprofit initiative of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) allows you to ‘share’ your meal with a child in need. The concept is simple but powerful: When you sit down for a meal, just tap the app on your smartphone to donate 40 cents to the WFP — enough to feed a hungry child for an entire day.
Users have donated more than 1.8 million meals to date, and the WFP is preparing to roll out the initiative worldwide on Nov. 12.
Image credit: Streetbank