Towards Sharing Economy: Joy of a shared toy
With each passing day, the world is more and more convinced that the economy system we are used to living in, is not sustainable. Climate change and resource depletion, followed by enormous consumption are some of the main problems that the world is facing nowadays. But now, more than ever, there is an emergence of companies that are moving further away from this way of doing business and might have a solution for these problems. Those companies are the main representatives of sharing economy. The sharing economy (also known as collaborative consumption) is an economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee. Now, we are all familiar with companies that are the main representatives of sharing economy, as Uber and Airbnb, but these companies are just a beginning of the large movement that is present today.
An interesting example is a new movement that promotes sharing toys among toddlers and students. This practice can contribute to environmental health in several ways. First, it can reduce the usage of plastics which are one of the main materials in toy production while it is also a great pollutant. The number of produced items could be decreased, which can lower the depletion of fossil fuels (that are used for plastic production). Second, teaching children from the early age that items we need or want, do not always need to be our own. Therefore, the possession of an item won’t be of a huge importance in the future. In this way, we build a different mindset that can be used in the future in all different areas (sharing cars, houses, clothes, etc.) and transferred to all future generations. Third, economic scarcity can be part of the history if this method is accepted by many people.
One of the trading platforms is “Kidstrade”, Pennsylvania based startup which created an application that can be used to swap toys. European application is called “Appytoy” and has the same purpose. Children can post a photo of the item with a description and see all other items that were posted by their friends. The application is safe for users and parents can control the activities of their children.
The creators of the startup emphasized that the system has numerous advantages for kids and parents. Kids learn that toys are not cheap, to take care of their stuff, and a greener way to get new things. Parents can save the money and skip the toy aisle, giving their children independence, while keeping clutter in check.
This is a win-win position, not only for individuals, but for the global society and the health of our planet. It might be a small step, but the world is definitely moving in the right direction.
Marija Stankovic, PhD student, LUM Jean Monnet University,
Teaching fellow, Faculty of Geo-economics, Megatrend University