Archive for the ‘reuse’ Category

lets reinvent christmas .. together!

December 14, 2010

“In 2008, £1.7 billion was spent on unwanted Christmas presents. The equivalent to £36 per person and 46% of us are still hoarding ours a year later.” Fact borrowed from Ebay and YouGov.

Each year Christmas is a costly personal challenge for everyone. In pursuit of keeping the dream alive we all spend money making ill informed guesses about what others may want. This results in an average of expenditure on presents of approx £500 per person, and yet more stuff collecting dust in people’s houses before eventually seeing the light of day at a car boot sale 5 years later.

Ecomodo has another idea that can benefit everyone, the environment and keep the Christmas spirit alive throughout the festive season and beyond. We want to reinvent Christmas.

Our proposition is that you don’t spend money on others and buy just one present for yourself. If everyone bought one present of something they really want and make it available to others to borrow, you would give everyone you know access to more stuff than they could imagine.

Your present to yourself could be a new tool, a tent, a kitchen gadget, a surf board, a special dress or perhaps even a learning a new skill such as massage or floristry. Everyone gets at least one thing they love, no-one spends more than they can afford and everyone has access to loads of new stuff which will inspire them to try new things and save them money. If we all spent £500 on our ‘one present’ and if we assume that most people would willingly lend to approx 30 people around them this means that on December 26th everyone would have access to £ 15k worth of new stuff to make our lives easier or more fun.

Already, people all across the UK are lending their everyday objects, skills and spaces for free, for a fee or for charity. By using Ecomodo’s lending circles it’s really possible to reinvent Christmas, simply set up a circle, invite the people in your life to join and get everyone to add their ‘one present’ to share.

And it needn’t stop at Christmas. You can add all the other stuff you have lying about and help create a fantastic community resource ready to be enhanced every Christmas. Keep the Christmas spirit alive all year round and help the people around you.

More interesting Christmas over consumption facts borrowed from Do the Green Thing

meet the shop-olutionaries ..

December 14, 2010

Joining Vintage Fair, Rag Trade and Rent you Rocks, Ecomodo is re-inventing the way we shop and changing our habits for good. Read our interview in this month’s issue of Red Magazine (January 2011) – Why buy when you can borrow? – I love that we appear under ‘retail therapy’

ecomodo wins at the green awards 2010 ..

December 3, 2010

Ecomodo.com is very proud to announce that they picked up the Best Use of Online Media award in the Green awards 2010 last night. Despite being a start-up social enterprise, they have beaten national retailers and local authorities at a fantastic ceremony held at the Natural History Museum, London.

Ecomodo has a simple goal – to get communities lending and borrowing to make better use of the all the stuff we all have sitting idle, such as tools and party, sports and hobby equipment. Ecomodo took a 2 pronged approach to achieving this goal. They are building awareness of the concept to bring it into the public consciousness and drive uptake, and they have provided an online tool at www.ecomodo.com to facilitate lending and borrowing transactions.

Lending and borrowing is good for people, pocket and planet. It encourages social engagement, saves people money and maximises the utility of the resources we already have. The carbon impact of people following their dreams, pursuing their interests and doing the boring jobs can be greatly reduced if people borrow instead of buying. The need for this is illustrated well by the amazing fact that the average drill is used for only 12 minutes in its lifetime. The total lifecycle impact from the collection of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution, to disposal is unacceptable when the purchaser was probably within a few metres of an idle drill in a neighbour’s shed.

Ecomodo is improving lives through social engagement and access to resources, and offering a brand new way of fundraising for good causes. This new service will play a part in changing the shape of our future economy. It will demonstrate that commercial viability and good can go hand in hand.

Meriel Lenfestey, co-founder of Ecomodo said “Ecomodo stands apart from other online campaigns because it not only conveys a message, but also provides the capability to drive actions. It’s a practical tool which enables everybody to walk the walk.” In response to the award Meriel’s partner Tracy Currer said “It’s a real honour to be recognised by such an esteemed panel of judges from organisations including the WWF, The Carbon Trust, UNEP and Saatchi & Saatchi.”

Wayne Hemingway MBE, in handing out the award said, the judges chose Ecomodo because it is a genuinely useful, creative concept, exquisitely designed with great potential to drive change. He added “If you haven’t seen their website you must check it out”.

The Green Awards motto of ‘creativity in sustainability’ best explains their commitment towards recognising and rewarding the most creative and effective efforts to communicate green messages. The Awards also honoured Sir David Attenborough with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, for his commitment towards the cause of biodiversity presented by Sir Paul Judge President of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Aside from the inspiration that is Sir David Attenborough, the night’s speakers gave an enlightening insight to an audience of sustainability, marketing and media professionals.

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) gave a rousing speech on the eve of his visit to Cancun recognising that the challenges presented by climate change were no longer just the remit of governments but businesses had a joint role to play in finding inspiring solutions.

For photos see our facebook page

Watch Chris Huhne speech

Watch David Attenborough speech

westminster’s new eco-apprentices ..

November 18, 2010

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010, Ecomodo was invited by Westminster City Council to participate in the “Eco-bag Enterprise Challenge” at Westminster City Boys School. The purpose of the event was to challenge the students of Year 8, to think about sustainability both in terms of the environment and a business – not an easy task.

In true “Apprentice” style and in teams of 4 – 5 boys, their challenge was to create an eco-friendly bag company and produce a new design for a reusable bag. Given a budget of up to £300 the students had to: understand why reusable bags were important; choose team roles for each member of the group; understand and describe their target customer; and work out their finances to deliver the design they wanted within budget. On top of this, the boys had to deliver a pitch back to the class with the best ‘company’ winning a prize – for boys aged 12-13 – the stakes were high.

The day commenced with a talks from our hosts (the Westminster Education Business Partnership) who outlined the activities of the challenge and Corinne Dickinson from Waste Watch who gave the students insights into the environmental issues surrounding plastic bags on which theys were to be quizzed. Corinne also mentioned that “plastic bags are only for 12 minutes of their lifetime” – the same as a drill I thought.

We then split into groups and as a “business mentor”, I was given a team to work with who called their company “Stars in the Making” – and they certainly were.

Whilst talking about plastic bags and shopping they made an observation that sports shops, unlike supermarkets, were still quite happily giving plastic bags to customers. So they focused their idea around a reusable sports bag that was purchased alongside goods from sporting outlets. Aimed at teenaged boys to young men and promoting becoming a “star” of sport, the bag could then be reused by the customer every time they went to the gym or played football. At the end of the day, the whole bag, including dirty sports gear (minus shoes), could be thrown in the washing machine to be cleaned and ready to reuse.

During the pitches, I was thoroughly amazed at the creativity of the students who alongside the re-usable sports bag, came up with reusable bags for christmas and wonderful slogans like “Save tomorrow today”.

Alongside Corinne from Waste Watch and myself, other business mentors volunteered their time from: Loop, GreenLondon.net, SEED, Healthy Planet, The Do Nation and we all had a truly inspired time at Westminster City School.

For me, this initiative from Westminster City Council, brings together the big issues that face our society today; how do we live environmentally within our means, re-build our economy and create business that are sustainable in every sense of the word. To educate and focus these young minds on the problems of today – can only help to provide us with young, smart, eco-minded entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

collaborative consumption – a new market ?

October 26, 2010

 

Collaborative consumption is a fledgling market traversing many sectors from transport, retail and banking to name a few.

At an event at Nesta last week, Rachel Botsman talked about her upcoming book “What’s mine is yours” and described collaborative consumption as falling into 3 distinct groups.

Product service systems Paying for the use of a product as opposed to owning it. (Streetcar, Whipcar, Barclays Cycle Hire, Liftshare, GoCarShare, Lovefilm, Whipbikes, ecomodo)

Redistribution markets redistributing used and pre-owned goods to someone who wants them (Freegle, Ebay, Big Wardrobe, JumbleAid, Lourish, Gumtree, Swishing)

Collaborative lifestyles The sharing swapping and bartering of time, space, skills and money (Zopa, Crashpadder, Landshare, Sponsume, ecomodo)

She outlined why the time is ripe for a market in sharing to flourish and illustrated 4 distinct trends:

  • Pressing unresolved environmental concerns
  • Global recession that has fundamentally shocked consumer behaviour
  • A renewed belief in the importance of community
  • A torrent of social technologies that enables scalability of services

Three years ago we also anticipated the convergence of these trends and they were one of the triggers that started us on our journey to build Ecomodo.

Understanding that the growth of social activity on the web would continue and act as an enabler, we realised we needed to find alternative ways to inspire and motivate people to change their behaviour.

Through user-centered research we indentified: the growing focus towards the environment; the increase in social values; and a move towards austerity appearing across different sectors within local communities. We choose to use these trends as an approach for a motivational model. From here, we developed the notion of lending for free, a fee or for charity as a way to reach diverse groups that can live geographically very close within our cities, towns and villages.

Other key topics from the talk were on the importance of brand and trust. Brand plays a critical role in the adoption of collaborative consumption services. Brand is the reason “hotels do not call themselves places for ‘bed sharing'”. Brand can provide trust through transparency and dialogue as well as weed of bad behaviour.

Interesting quotes from the talk.

6 of of 10 people in the UK do not know their neighbours names

80% of the things we own get used less than once a month

29 million cars in the UK sit not used for 23 hours of the day


See the Full video of the event at Nesta.

Further reading: Kevin Kelly (Wired Magazine) “Access is better than ownership

the london reuse network launches ..

September 23, 2010

The ecomodo girls were out on the town last night at the launch party of the London Reuse Network – a fantastic initiative instigated by the LCRN (London Community Resource Network) to help turn waste back into ‘good’ goods.

Currently there are too many quality items going to landfill (furniture, toys, appliances, wood, textile, electrical equipment, bicycles – you get the picture) so the idea of the LRN is to create an integrated reuse service for London delivered through a community-led reuse and repair network. With a bunch of backing from Boris and LWaRB, this means all this stuff, instead of going to landfill, will get picked up, repaired and redistributed back to Londoners. As well as physical infrastructure for storage and an efficient transportation strategy the LRN aims to train local people with practical green skills to fix up, repair and upcycle the goods.

Guest speakers included Wayne Hemingway and Dr Adam Read from the AEA. Wayne delightfully re-counted stories of his thrifty upbringing with ends of the soap in jam jars; how he got started fixing up Dr. Martin boots with a blow-torch to seal the soles and reselling them in Camden Market; to the success of this years Vintage at Goodwood with 50,000 festival-goers celebrating the reuse of clothing, music and culture.

After the talks people were invited to ask questions. At this point designers and architects got a bit of a slating from a member of the audience. “Why can’t architects/designers just design things so there is much little waste and re-use materials?” Matthew Thomson’s (Chief Executive of LCRN) rightly pointed out that certain materials have a life and after that (especially in the building industry) it would be unsafe to reuse certain materials.

As a designer working in the industry for over 17 years, I have tried this fight this fight from the inside out. Great efforts have been made to change the way products are manufactured but like everything it’s an evolution not a revolution. Many more products today, as opposed to 10 years ago, are being made from materials that can and have been recycled and this change has predominantly happened through consumer demand not policy. At the end of the day most manufacturers still want to cut their bottom line – taking the “cheaper” option.

The biggest issue for me is” built in obsolescence.” Manufacturers are not designing products that are robust and easy to fix. The easy repair of their goods creates longevity meaning less things will be purchased – and this is not good for business.

From the outside in, using Ecomodo, we hope to change consumer behaviour to drive change in manufacture. By enabling people to borrow items instead of buying new we are delivering an alternative to retail and as consumer understanding grows, we can use this as an intervention. If they choose to still buy and not borrow, they will start to consider the life-time of the product – how many times they will use it and in turn lend it out. They will begin to think of household products as assets and not just throw-away. Using consumer demand we can sway manufacturers to make robust, fixable products built to last.

It is great to be at the start of The London Reuse Network as this powerful initiative can too make people think differently about where, how and why they purchase the products they do. For it the work – it needs to have complete consumer appeal – so more vintage – less charity shop. This year has seen a massive upsurge in the trend of vintage so in order to capture the heart, minds and purse strings of our consumers perhaps they need to think about what’s next – beyond vintage.

image borrowed from LCRN

london lending ..

August 7, 2010

We are very pleased to announce that Recycle For London have become a friend of Ecomodo. Through their website they are encouraging all Londoners to use Ecomodo and prevent waste by borrowing the things they need instead of buying. Recycle for London is an initiative run by the Greater London Authority (GLA). And with the recent launch of Boris’s Bikes  .. “Is borrowing the new buying?

beyond recycling ..

July 12, 2010

Mrs Gill Hickman, a teacher from Ringwood School school in Hampshire initiated a fantastic one day event for local students from four secondary schools to learn how to go ‘beyond recycling’. When invited, Ecomodo was more than delighted to join in the fun and impart a little re-use wisdom along the way.

The purpose of the day was to further the environmental sustainability agenda for each participating school and build awareness of initiatives in sustainability beyond the educational community.

In true Ecomodo fashion, The New Forest District Council lent out space at Appletree Court to host the event and gave terrific support to the organising teachers and staff to pull-off a thought-provoking event for students and staff alike.

Launched by Alan Lovell, the Present Hampshire High Sheriff, with his illustrated lecture on Al Gore’s ‘An inconvenient Truth’, the day continued with talks and activities from contributors including 10:10, Southampton University and Footprint Friends.

I talked to students about embodied carbon and waste prevention (through borrowing instead of buying) but I think they were more excited by the ability to get their hands on some extra Wii controllers, to test drive a bicycle or play with an ipad just for the weekend.

Ecomodo was part of the ‘Beyond Recycling’ marketplace and were amongst good friends such as: the New Forest Food Challenge, an NF Transition Town initiative; the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust creating seed pots with students to grow wild flowers; the New Forest National Park talking about climate change; the Hampshire Coppice Craftsmans Group demonstrating some wonderful wood carving and The Portsmouth Sustainable Energy and Climate Change centre discussing renewable energies in the home.

Students attended from Ringwood, Priestlands, Mountbatten and Hounsdown Schools and regardless of the heat went home with lots new to think about. I’m looking forward to checking out their school reports.

your shed : everyone’s treasure trove

July 4, 2010

Is your shed a haven or just the place to hoard a heap of stuff? Whatever the answer, this week it’s time for a bit of shed love.

For those who haven’t heard of National Shed Week, it’s an annual event in it’s fourth year that brings together “Sheddies” from around the world to show off their sheds and compete for the coveted “Shed of the year” award amongst other things. The competition, run by Readersheds covers sheds of all shapes and sizes and this year’s entries include workshops, eco-sheds, summerhouses and pubs. And if like me, you’re a fan of Dr. Who there are even Tardis sheds.

At Ecomodo.com we love sheds. Sheds are full of all sorts of lovely things that are very useful but unfortunately may not get used too often. But now you can make your shed become the treasure trove of your neighbourhood.

Using Ecomodo.com you can lend out everything in your shed to the people that live nearby.  You can choose to lend for free, to make some extra cash for yourself, or fundraise for a charity or good cause.

If your shed contains: DIY or garden tools, ladders, kayaks, bikes, tents, spare chairs or even kid’s stuff in storage for the 2nd born to grow into; then lend it out and help others save money by borrowing instead of buying the things they don’t need often.

You can also choose to lend the shed itself and help someone out with a bit of temporary storage, to fix up a bike, or complete a woodworking project. Or share your “sheddie” skills and lend a hand to someone nearby.

OK. I know what you are thinking. “I’m not sure I feel comfortable lending out my stuff”.

If you are a little concerned about lending your stuff, Ecomodo can help you lend with confidence. You can set up a lending circle for your friends, neighbours, work colleagues or people you know from a local club or pub and invite them to join. You can then choose to lend your stuff to everyone or just people in your lending circles. Alongside this you can opt to take deposits or insurance for extra peace of mind.

Lots of people in the UK are already opening up their sheds for the common good and starting to lend hedge cutters, lawnmowers, jet washers, shears and strimmers to name a few.

So whether your shed is the pride of your household or just a depository for your stuff, let’s get your shed earning its keep. This week, show a your shed a little shed love and spend some time sifting it. Take a photo of anything you think would be useful for someone else to use, and add it to lend on Ecomodo.com.

So .. what’s in your shed?

get prepared for the big lunch!

July 2, 2010

Ecomodo has teamed up with The Big Lunch to help everyone get what they need to make their party go with a swing. Find out more.

Kick-started last year by The Eden Project, The Big Lunch is a one-day get together with your neighbours to eat, chat and have fun. It can be anything from a simple lunch to a full-blown street party with DJs and a hog roast. So this Sunday 18th July, why not hang out with your neighbours and chat whilst chomping on some chips and dips.

Whatever you need: a music system, games to play or extra tables and chairs; a helping hand to cook, make decorations, organise or clear up; or even a space to hold your Big Lunch: Ecomodo can help. Post a wanted ad to tell people around you what you’re looking for.

Need to raise some extra cash for food and drink? Rally your troops and get your neighbours lending all their assets and ask them to donate any profits to you. Ecomodo lets people lend almost anything so register your Big Lunch as a good cause, add some items to lend and start fundraising today. Search your shed and attic and get inspired for things to lend.

And at the end of the day, after the last sausage roll has gone and the bunting is coming down, keep your Big Lunch day alive by lending and borrowing throughout the year. Create a lending circle for your neighbourhood and get everyone, new friends and old to start pooling their assets for the common good.


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