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How is technology driving the Sharing Economy?

Times have definitely changed.

People no longer fear a car ride from a stranger thanks to Uber. You can browse people’s homes that you want to holiday in with Airbnb and can even hire someone to do simple tasks for you with Air Tasker.

All of these platforms are a part of the sharing economy and thanks to the evolution of technology, it’s flourishing.

The sharing economy is a lot more than convenience. It contributes to the good of the environment by reducing wastefulness and can add an extra dollar to a provider’s pocket.

In fact, the Sharing Hub estimates that one in 10 Australians are boosting their income significantly through the sharing economy.  

LendMe was created for this exact vision. To help people and the environment.

Some different branches of technology that are outlined below are what’s guiding the future of sharing online.

LendMe is a platform that makes it quick and easy for you to rent your personal items to others in your neighbourhood. Source: Pexels.

Proof of identity

Lending out your personal belongings is more secure than ever before. Being able to ensure your lender/ renter is legitimate is an important factor in sharing online.

Consumers and Providers want trust and security before proceeding with any deal.

Being able to prove someone’s identity online by uploading any necessary documents and by using remote ID verification is a lot more convenient than having to meet face-to-face.

Safe and Secure payments

Paying online through a billing service is in most cases safer than handing your card to a waiter at a restaurant.

The improvisations of online billing have made it easier for users of sharing platforms to pay and receive money over the net than to use cash.

Billers like PayPal and Apple Pay are very well-known and trusted over a wide-range of online transactions.

Another popular payment type is After pay, with 1 in 4 Australian Millennials having used the platform to borrow money.

The world of Social Media

According to the Yellow Social Media report, the first thing nearly sixty per cent of Australians do everyday is use social media.

Social media keeps us connected easily and is a great way to advertise products and services to a wide audience.

The more appealing content that is posted, the more attraction it will receive.

Before social media people weren’t too keen on sharing information on the web. Because of the emergence and popularity of different social networking platforms, people are a lot more open to exchanging their information and ideas online.  

There are over 95 million posts on Instagram every day. Source: Pexels.

On the Map

Remember the days when every car had a map in the side door, ready to pull out when you couldn’t find your way?

Technology has brought us to a place where we can find exactly where we want in an instant.

For the uses of sharing apps, this is a major benefit.

Being able to locate a service/ product being advertised on a map creates security for a consumer and the supplier.

For example, Uber uses a map with a tracker that shows exactly where a user’s ride is and how far away it will be.  

Smartphones

With the use of smartphones, people can now connect with each other all around the world at that exact time with a click of a button.

The progression of these devices has had a massive impact on the sharing economy due to this convenience.

People want fast and easy accessibility to everything these days, so traffic through mobile phones is much higher than other devices.

According to the Yellow report , 74 percent of Australians say they use their smartphones for social media every day.

Connecting people through technology creates the sharing economy. Source: Pexels.

The sharing economy continues to grow every day and it wouldn’t be able to without the miracles of the technology world.

Why Volunteer?

When my siblings and I were young and just entering our first years of primary, my mum began volunteering at our school.

She used to help the teachers with reading time, class excursions and running the school canteen.

The one thing she noticed about her contribution was how much her and the other volunteers were helping to ease the teacher’s heavy workload and the benefits it gave the kids education.

Since then she has continued to do her part for her community by participating in beach clean ups, helping environmental groups and volunteering as a surf lifesaver for over 3 years now.

She’s demonstrated to us the importance of giving back to our community and how much of an impact we can create by giving a little bit of our time.

Importance of volunteering

With national volunteer week coming up this month, there’s no better time to contribute to your community.

The Australia Bureau of statistics shows that the number of adults who participated in voluntary work dropped from 34% in 2010 to 31% in 2014.

This decline is the first since volunteer work has been recorded.

The blame is most likely due to people’s busy work/ life schedules and the need for them to earn more money to support their families and keep afloat.

Yet, there are so many benefits for the community/ organisation and the volunteer themselves to be donating their time.

Some organisations such as orange sky laundry depend on the help of others in order for them to expand and do good for their community.

Orange sky is a for purpose organisation that provides a warm shower, fresh laundry and conversation to the hundreds of homeless men and women around Australia.

Without willing volunteers, this corporation and others requiring assistance would not be viable to operate.

National volunteer week, 20-26 May

Micro Volunteering

Have you ever signed an online petition or taken 5 seconds out of your day to promote a cause that you are passionate about on social media?

This is called Micro-volunteering.

Life can get busy and even when someone wants to give their time to benefit others, they might just not have said time available.

Micro Volunteer work can include; liking and sharing a post for a good cause, donating supplies to community pantries or even picking up litter as you see it.

With the digital age among us and technology continuously advancing, contributing to causes and voicing your opinion is now easier than ever.

Protesting a good cause that you strongly believe in is a good way to make the most out of contributing your time. Source: Pexels.

How to find work near you

Finding volunteer work can be very easy thanks to social media and technology.

Plenty of opportunities where your help and skills are needed can be found by using some of the apps mentioned below or by looking online and asking around.

Newspapers and online community boards can also be a good place to search, or a simple post online offering your services could help connect you with plenty of people needing a favour.

Volunteers are detrimental to any community. Source: Pexels.

Apps to use

  • Vollie: Online micro volunteer platform that allows people to donate their time and skills around the world.
  • Go Volunteer: Helps eager volunteers connect to charities and people who need help. Quick and simple site tools that locate nearby volunteer opportunities.
  • Be my eyes: Danish app that connects people with visual impairments around the world with people who are able to help them online. Simple tasks can be done for these people such as reading labels for them.
  • Skills for change: Online volunteering for busy people. Interesting and fun platform that lets people use their skills and passions to help others online.
  • Elbi: Fun app that allows volunteers to help/cheer up people online with simple and easy tasks.

Cheap for you, Expensive for the Earth

Most people put a lot of effort into how they look and what they wear. For a lot of consumers, wearing the same articles of clothing isn’t an option as they enjoy shopping and keeping up with current trends. Unfortunately, this mindset isn’t always the healthiest option for our environment.

There’s something seriously wrong with the current fashion industry.

It’s damaging our environment more than people are aware and fast fashion is the main culprit.

Fast fashion is clothing that is produced quickly and cheaply by large market retailers.

The only way that some things can be produced so rapidly at such a low price is because of the cheap, non-durable materials used and where and how it is manufactured.

The fashion industry is one of the biggest risks to the environment. Source: Pexels.

Fast Vs Slow Fashion

It’s easy to make a fast-fashion choice when shopping for clothing. That’s because fast-fashion is usually the cheaper option. But is it really?

Think about all of the clothes that you’ve bought online or in-store for a great price only to receive a flimsy, low-quality product with wonky stitching. How long do these clothing items actually last?

The fact is, most fast-fashion is made from inexpensive and low-quality materials that are prone to wear and tear quickly. As opposed to slow-fashion, which are garments made from higher quality materials which generally last longer and look and feel better.

Slow fashion makes considerate choices as to the impact it will have on the environment and how the workers will benefit from making these garments.

Next time you purchase any textile, ask yourself, why is it so cheap? If you do the math you will realise that with the cost of the materials and the manufacturers time to make that one piece, it just doesn’t add up.

“Great fashion should never go to waste.” Source: Pexels.

Impact on Environment

Fast fashion is a major pollutant to the environment. Globally, almost 60% of clothing ends up in landfill or incinerators within a year of purchasing. That is a lot of waste.

Aside from that, there are other contributors such as the types of dyes and microfibres that are apart of clothing and released into the environment.

These are also major problems to our ecosystem. Studies have proven that microfibres are the most ubiquitous human waste to be found along shorelines around the world, making up to 85% of all human-made materials.

Fair Trade

Ways in which some fashion labels can produce clothes cheaply is by hiring workers overseas who are paid unfairly and made to work in indecent conditions. Some major companies that have been exposed to using these practises at some stage are H&M, Nike and Adidas.

Fair trade is an extremely important movement to have in mind when browsing the fashion industry. All workers from any part of the world have the rights to work in safe and fair surroundings and be paid rightly to what they are owed.

Ways to be a Sustainable Consumer of Fashion

  • Choose materials that are of quality and which are sustainably and ethically manufactured. Read the labels of clothing before making the purchase to look for naturally-derived fabrics.

Some common sustainable textiles are: Wool, silk, linen, cotton, hemp, bamboo, and soy.

Some materials to avoid are: Polyester, nylon and spandex.

  • Op shopping and clothing swaps.
  • Rent instead of buy. Hiring a suit or formal dress that will most likely only be worn once for an event instead of buying it will save you money and reduce the amount of textile consumption.
  • Minimalise, reduce the amount of clothing you purchase.

There’s no way we will see a change to our environment without making one.

The shift towards Conscious Consumerism

It’s 2019 and the world we live in is far from being healthy.

It’s hard to go a day without hearing about at least one of the ongoing environmental issues that we are facing.

Unfortunately for the health of our planet, and all of us living on it, Global Warming and Climate Change will only get worse if society doesn’t change their nasty habits.

Factory chimney smoke, copyright-free. Source: Pexels

There are plenty of ways that Australians can positively contribute to the environment, and being a conscious consumer is a very good start.

Conscious Consumerism is more than refusing to use a plastic bag for your groceries.

It’s about thinking of where your products come from, how much they cost the earth and making the choice to use the socially and environmentally considerate product or service.

Here are some ways that you can join the bandwagon and reduce your carbon footprint:

  1. Ditch the single-use plastics and make the switch to reusable packaging. Plastic wasn’t always around, so believe it or not, there was a time when people were perfectly content without it and you can be to. Some items that do the trick are: reusable mesh produce bags, a reusable bread bag, metal straws, canvas bags, reusable water bottles and bamboo/wooden cutlery.
  2. Choose to buy from environmentally ethical businesses. Suppliers are realising that Australians are becoming more aware of where their products come from and the waste that is produced when it’s being made. Due to this, they are catering for their consumers and focusing on the ways they can improve their standards. To help support this, buy from businesses that are sustainably practical and give feedback to the places that aren’t.
  3. Join the sharing economy. Australians are the second largest consumers of textiles. By sourcing clothes and other items from op-shops or hiring out clothing instead of buying, you can reduce the amount of textiles needing to be made. Using different platforms such as ‘Lend Me’ to hire out items that you don’t use often and are costly to buy, will reduce the amount of waste generated and save you a lot of money.