Did you know that 80% of household items are used less than once a month? Our current economy generates value by producing and selling as many products as possible. This means that the goal of many businesses is to get us to buy more stuff. But when we consider how little we actually use those things, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to perpetually be adding new things to our shopping carts, only for them to collect dust in our homes!
This level of consumption means we’re rapidly using up our planet’s natural resources. And because our stuff isn't built to last, it ends up in landfill once broken, or when we’re done using it. This model isn’t sustainable - for our environment or our bank accounts.
But there is an alternative way to get hold of the things you need. Library of Things is part of a growing rental movement in the UK. We hire out useful things like drills, carpet cleaners, sewing machines and sound systems for a small fee. Once you're done you can return them to your local Library of Things lockers for the next person to use. We think there is more joy in sharing resources than hoarding them!
Here in Hackney, we're lucky to have two Library of Things. Brought to you in partnership with Hackney Council and Sustainable Hackney, Dalston Library of Things is located inside Dalston CLR James Library. Hackney Wick Library of Things is housed at The Baths in Hackney Wick and is a partnership with LLDC, Stour Space and Sustainable Hackney.
We currently have more than 100 wonderful members using each location each month but there are almost 250,000 people living in Hackney. Imagine the resources, emissions and money we could all save if everyone joined Library of Things - not to mention the confidence locals would gain from learning new skills like DIY or sewing.
The likes of Amazon and big retailers aren't going anywhere anytime soon but we can choose to be part of an alternative system, one rooted in community, which gives back to local people and is kinder to the planet.
Whether you've got 2 minutes or 2 hours to spare, there are lots of actions you can take to play a pivotal role in growing the circular economy, starting with spreading the word about Library of Things.
Have you seen any other circular economy projects in Hackney? We'd love to hear about them and spread the word. Leave us a comment below.
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