9 Collaborative Consumption Services You’ve Got To Try

All our lives we’ve been taught to pursue financial success and acquire material possessions. We work long hours, often at jobs we hate, neglecting our family and friends, just to convince ourselves that we’re getting closer to these goals. Meanwhile we become buried under the burden of storing, maintaining, insuring and disposing of all of this stuff, when all we really wanted was access to the experience the stuff can provide.

Collaborative consumption is your ticket to getting off this resource-sucking, wallet-killing roller coaster. As an element of the rapidly growing sharing economy, collaborative consumption gives you access to the things, space, experiences, and skills you want without the burden of ownership. Through collaborative consumption services, we can access the the lifestyle we want without waste. By sharing things we have with each other, aka peer-to-peer sharing, we can restore a sense of community while lifting each other up.

EarthTechling has reported on different aspects of collaborative consumption, from bike sharing to online toy sharing services, but now we’re going even deeper. If you’ve ever wondered what the sharing economy is all about, here are 9 collaborative consumption services that are changing the world.

airbnb front page

1. Airbnb.com

Arguably one of the most popular and successful collaborative consumption companies in the world, Airbnb allows you to rent a privately owned house, apartment, villa, or guest room with the same ease and security of a major hotel. With listings in 192 countries, it’s possible to use Airbnb almost anywhere. And it’s more than just sharing a room: Airbnb hosts take great pride in their spaces, often adding extra touches like breakfast or rides to the airport, and offering insider tips about the area.

2. Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

We’ve reported on car sharing schemes like Zipcar in the past, but these corporate programs aren’t your only option when it comes to accessing vehicles on a short-term basis. Services like RelayRides, Getaround, Buzzcar, and Flightcar make it easy (and legal) to rent your own vehicle to neighbors as well as strangers. Studies have shown that car sharing schemes like these actually remove cars from the road, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in some cases, make the car owners a significant amount of extra income.

3. Coworking

Experts predict that within the next few decades, location-independent professionals will comprise around 40 percent of the total workforce. Free from their cubicle prisons, these savvy self-starters crave collaboration, creativity, and most of all, community. A global movement, coworking focuses on shared workspaces available at the fraction of a solo office price. Each space has a different personality, and acts as a supportive community for motivated independents passionate about achieving success. Access some of the best resources for learning more about coworking, including a global directory of spaces, at Coworking.com.

4. Stuff Sharing/Swapping

Here’s a scenario that happens thousands of times a day: you need a tool for special project, let’s say a food dehydrator, so you go to the store and buy a new one. You make your beef jerky, and then put the dehydrator on a shelf where it sits for the next 8 months, gathering dust. Little did you know, your neighbor across the street already had a food dehydrator gathering dust in his kitchen cupboard. Too bad there wasn’t a way to know whether or not he’d be willing to lend it to you, or swap it for something you have that he wants. Well, thanks to the sharing economy, there are LOTS of service that exist to connect haves with have-nots. Check out online services like yerdle, Swappin.com, SwapAce.com, LeftoverSwap, Swap.com, U-Exchange, and Freecycle, which allow you to offer things you don’t need (like books, clothes, foods, and electronics) and claim things you want–in most cases for absolutely no charge.

>>KEEP READING for more exciting collaborative consumption services!

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • BegBorrowOrShare

      Great work bringing these resources together! The Sharing Economy lacks an easy-to-use directory and resource.

      I hope you might check out my site – http://www.begborroworshare.com. I will be posting a directory and Guides for the sharing economy. Check out my guide for P2P carsharing!