Don’t buy it .. borrow it from you neighbourhood

Filed in Guest Posts by on October 7, 2010 5 Comments
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Tracy from Ecomodo

Tracy from Ecomodo

During my ‘zero waste with little emissions‘ challenge, one of the things it highlighted was the importance of our local community. Readers suggested organisations they were involved with – Sharehood in the US  and over here, LETS, Freecomony, and StreetBank.

Our guest post this week is from Tracy Currer at Ecomodo. Tracy’s desire is for businesses to create more recycled products, but more importantly, to produce robust, longer lasting and fixable items.

She understands this also creates the need to change the way consumers relate to products they own, to see them as assets and create a new type of consumer demand. Out of her vision, Ecomodo was born.

Love at first sight

Ever got home thrilled with a new purchase only to find that a week or two later you think, “Why did I spend my money on that”. Once the novelty has worn off, the kitchen appliance that once held pride of place gets moved to a cupboard as you reclaim your kitchen surface. Or after an intense week of DIY you realize you now need to “find somewhere to store all the tools” that were excitedly bought just a week ago.


Unfortunately the average lifetime usage of a power drill is about 20 minutes. The rest of the time it sits idly in the tool shed, waiting for its moment in the sun. This means a vast number of barely used products end up in the bin. So we have the answer and it’s right up your street.


Ecomodo is an easy way for anyone to reduce their waste by simply lending and borrowing household items instead of purchasing new ones.

Lend or borrow

Ecomodo enables individuals to lend or borrow those everyday objects that so often gather dust in cellars, sheds and lofts with their neighbours. From lawnmowers to tents; golf clubs to awnings, Ecomodo enables users to list their items to lend and see what others have on offer. Items can be lent for free or lenders are able to charge for an item, and choose if they want to keep the fee or make a donation to charity.

Share skills

Lend objects, spaces or even skills; Ecomodo makes it easy for people to green their lifestyle. Whether renovating a house; having a party; going on holiday; hosting visitors; gardening; learning something new or even trying something before you buy; Ecomodo can help us all reduce our collective impact on the environment.

Peace of mind

Using Ecomodo you can set up lending circles for your neighbourhood, workplace, school or community group and use your circles to automatically control who can borrow your gear. Ecomodo guides you through the entire process to make sure everyone is happy at the end, and offers deposits and insurance for extra peace of mind.

Borrow, don’t buy!

With so many items lying unused and with reuse being up to twenty times more effective than recycling (depending on the product), simply borrowing the things we occasionally need as opposed to buying new is a simple way to reduce our waste. And it’s a great way to meet your neighbours.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (5)

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  1. LJayne says:

    What a fabulous idea. I was talking to my 7.5yo son the other day about time banks where people share their skills for credit against being able to ‘purchase’ the skills from someone else that they need.

  2. Mrs Green has set the example of engaging a child in early formation, at the moment when exuberance wins over fear and insecurity in our path to adulthood, now i see LJayne talks to her seven year old about reality and humanity, —community does begin at home–sure beats pokemon and barbie talk! anyone wants to share some old toys? no, not mine, i’m more into rototillers and wheelbarrows.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @LJayne: What a coincidence Lesley; hope you find something to interest you on Ecomodo 🙂
    @nadine sellers: I think sharing wheelbarrows would be fabulous Nadine, much more fun that swapping dolls

  4. Rhyfelwyr says:

    Of course, the obvious thing to do before setting up concepts like Ecomodo is to get to know your neighbours personally. That way you don’t have to bother going online to see if someone somewhere has something you can borrow. You can just ask. It’s what we used to do before we had the internet, and it has inherently a much lower carbon footprint associated with it.

    I do like her unattributable metric about ‘the average lifetime usage of a power drill’ being ’20 minutes’. I’d be intrigued to see the LCA behind this one. I presume that whoever came up with that number doesn’t live in an old house in need of renovation, because if they did they’d find that they’d be using drills a bit more than this. My neighbour uses his about 20 minutes a week. I don’t think he’s got a wall left without shelves on it.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Rhyfelwyr: Hi Rhyfelwyr, welcome to the site. I quite agree that getting to know neighbours personally is the way forward, but sadly we seem to have lost the art of connecting, except, perhaps, in villages and other close communities. We’re lucky where we live in that we are in a smaller community, but I know that Mr green lived in a town before he met me and never knew his neighbour’s name in all the time he lived there. Not sure about the stat on 20 minutes, I understand for older houses this would not be the case, but it certainly might be for a new build and there are more and more of those around!

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