Benefits of the Shared Economy & Promoting Sustainability

The new Sharing Economy has huge potential to promote change in societies and shift the focus towards collective consumption behaviour. Research shows that 80% of the goods we own, we use once a month suggesting a gap in the market, the shared economy. Borrowing reduces the amount we buy and consume which indirectly reduces our carbon footprint. Fat Pig hopes to educate everyone on the positive affects of renting rather than buying.

Fat Pig has just made this possible, we’ve created a platform to consolidate the entire rental market into one, so as to become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for everything renting related. We have partnered up with already registered and successful rental companies to consolidate everything into one. Our aim is to reduce unnecessary purchases that will be used once or twice and then land up in the garage gathering dust.

The sharing economy has positive environmental impacts, through a reduction in the total resources required, it helps reduce pollutants, emissions and carbon footprints. Bicycle sharing schemes can reduce the use of motorised vehicles that usually consume petroleum products and generate emissions. In Shanghai, bicycle sharing reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions by 25,000 tonnes and 64 tonnes in 2016, respectively. This leads to a direct health benefit; in that the amounts of carbon dioxide we are breathing in a daily basis is reduced.

The sharing of tools can lead to a major reduction in carbon emissions. Privately owned tools are only used occasionally. For example, on average a power drill is only used around 18 minutes over its entire life span according to a study. The life cycle emissions from a power drill amount to around 28 kg CO2-equivalent (CO2e), and only 2% of the emissions are generated from the use of the drill. For example if power drills were shared 30 times and 5 electric drills covered 30 rentals, i.e. each of the 5 drills were rented 6 times, the sharing suppressed the production of 25 electric drills, reducing emissions by 700 kg CO2e. But sharing services may also induce increased traveling as people pick up the rented tools. If someone drives a return trip of 5 kilometers to pick up a hired drill instead of driving a similar distance to purchase the drill, there is no difference in emissions. Now imagine the person needs the power drill 9 more times over the years, and drives an average of 5 km each time, with emissions of 173 g/km, this would generate approximately 8 kg CO2e. In this instance, the additional emissions from induced driving would be lower than the 28 kg emissions saved from the production of a power drill.

Through an increased awareness of the benefits of renting rather than buying, we truly do believe that we can all do our own part combating harmful emissions. The key to achieving this is through peoples’ behaviour and mindsets changing to a more “rent when needed” rather than a “buy and sit” in the garage mindset. Over time we believe that the sharing economy will also help foster structural change towards lower carbon emissions economies.

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