You can’t scratch your nose these days without accidently reading something about collaborative consumption.
ÁBC Environment suggested last week the trend towards renting or borrowing rather than buying may actually be driving us to consume more, making gas-guzzling boats and high-end labels achievable whatever your budget.
As someone who had a panic attack over buying a fridge after years of share house living, I’m probably not the person to wonder whether collaborative consumption can get out of control.
But I do know it’s a very middle-class thing to feel more evolved because you value experiences over stuff. And it’s an interesting question – who’s really making the least impact on the environment? Someone like me, who doesn’t own very much but travels a lot, eats out and ‘does things’. Or someone like my sister who has a big suburban house full of gadgets and furniture but stays at home?
I don’t have the answers. But I do think what’s more important than collaborative consumption is conscious consumption. People like to give things labels these days and spot trends but really it’s the stuff your mum or your grandma asked back in the day. Do you really need it? Is it made well and will it last? Can you borrow it from someone else rather than buying it? And the more modern day question – does my purchase impact on less fortunate people?
Now the weather’s a bit warmer, we’re aiming to have our next mob at a restaurant. It’s a way to make your lifestyle a little more sustainable even if you’re not a shopaholic. And it’s really another form of collaborative consumption – consumers collaborating together to influence positive change.