Summer: The Season of Sharing
Happy Summer, Friends!
If you’ve spent all spring brushing up on your smart recycling skills and are ready for the next challenge – the Recycle Smart Team has you covered.
While the primary mission of Recycle Smart MA is to promote good recycling habits here in the Commonwealth, we know that recycling alone is not the answer. Recycling is just one tool in the toolbox for reducing our waste footprint. Join us this month as explore another important tool — sharing.
Sharing is Caring
All The Buzz: The Sharing Economy
Think Globally, Act Locally
While many of the emerging platforms and companies are monetized models that allow people access to items without the burden of owning (and maintaining) them – think vacation home, bike, or car —the Recycle Smart MA team is highlighting some free or low-cost local resources that can help you get involved in this ever-expanding movement. And if you’re new to your neighborhood, or just shy, these resources will help you connect with neighbors and maybe even make new friends!
Library of Things
Library of Things at Peabody Institute Library, Danvers. 📷: MassDEP
Ever resourceful, many public libraries are pivoting to offer more than books. A “Library of Things” allows you to check out non-traditional items such as toys and games, gardening and lawn tools, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) kits, wi-fi hot spots, small kitchen appliances, musical instruments, sewing machines, and more. In some communities you may also find that a non-profit, business, or community groups has taken up the charge and started a tool lending library, toy library or even a seed library (no, you don’t have to return the seeds).
The Brickyard Collaborative Makerspace in Lynn, MA 📷: The Brickyard Collaborative
MakerspacesMakerspaces (yup, it’s a real word, says Merriam-Webster) are collaborative workspaces that can be located at your public library, school, or as a stand-alone business or organization. By providing tools that can range from 3D printers and laser cutters to pottery wheels and kilns – these workspaces (also known as hackerspaces) encourage innovation and learning. Removing the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to get a little creative – makerspaces provide a place to play, create, learn new skills, build community and learn from one another.
Online Sharing and Gifting PlatformsUsing online platforms like Nextdoor, Facebook Buy Nothing groups, or Freecycle, you can ask to borrow that pressure washer from a neighbor or offer up the food dehydrator you are not currently using. These platforms are generally considered part of the “gifting economy” where you freely give away items you no longer want or need and can acquire items you could use from a neighbor. Although most items are gifted, many people also use these online platforms to share and borrow items locally.
Swap ShopsSwap Shop in South Hadley. 📷: South Hadley DPW
Although not exactly the same as sharing, a swap shop is a local place where you can donate and acquire used items that are in good working condition in your community. Yankee thriftiness is alive and well at the more than 90 swap shops in Massachusetts. Typically located at a community’s transfer station or recycling drop-off center, swap shops allow you to drop off unwanted items and go “shopping” for things you want or need. Check out this map of swap shops throughout Massachusetts to find one near you. If we are missing a location, let us know so we can add it!
Little Free Libraries
Partner Spotlight - Town of Eastham
The “Eastham Stock Exchange” is back! A Recycle Smart MA partner, the Town of Eastham held a “soft launch” reopening of their beloved swap shop this past week after shutting down last year for the pandemic. This much missed local gem has a few new rules in place to keep people safe while allowing Eastham residents to “shop” for treasures and drop off donations (coming soon). In order to keep the doors open though, Eastham, like many swap shops around the state, relies on volunteers. So if you have a swap shop in your community, consider volunteering your time to help accept, sort, and organize donations. Your help might just make it possible for your local swap shop to re-open, if it is not already. To learn more about all the recycling and waste reduction services the Town of Eastham provides at the transfer station, check out their website here: Solid Waste Division | Eastham MA (eastham-ma.gov)
📚 What We're Reading
- Every City Should Have a Toy Library – The Atlantic
- ‘Freedges’ Offer Free Food In Neighborhoods To Those In Need : NPR
- Library of Things lets you check out electronics, tools, board games – Wicked Local
- To Stop Food Waste, We Need to Confront Our Food Anxiety | Bon Appétit
- How Frugality Got It’s Groove Back – Wall Street Journal
The Recycle Smart Team