In October 2013, Stephanie Günther gave a presentation at homo ecos: about “collaborative consumption”. In this series of nine blogs, she explains what it is, and how it can help towards a more sustainable society. Chapter 6: For your Kids, too!.
Raising children can be very expensive, as they need a lot of things and often only for a short period. So exchanging, renting or offering (or getting offered) might be an economic need. But it can also have an ecological, social and even a healthy impact. New products and especially clothes are often treated with chemicals, which diminish or even disappear with repeated washing. So using second hand clothes can be beneficial especially for babies – if you do not buy ecological products anyway.
The ecological impact is – like in every shared product – that the natural resources put in the production (water, energy, petrol, cotton, metal, etc.) are better used, as the product is used more often. The social impact is that by exchanging or offering children’s facilities, poor people have more easily access to these goods.
You can exchange or reuse almost everything: clothes, toys, prams, tricycles, bicycles, school books, and gambling machines (hopping balls, trampolines, beanbags, stilts, etc.) – for a birthday party, but also for private use.
You can even rent diapers: in some cities exist offers which provide clients with reusable diapers, and sometimes the service includes washing and delivery. So instead of buying one-time diapers that you throw away after use and increase therefore the amount of waste, or buying and reselling reuse diapers, you rent the service of clean diapers which are always in the shape of your baby’s needs.
These services are only useful and ecologically and economically reasonable if they are local. Therefore most of the offers are local providers, but cooperation network also exist. The transactions can be made on internet or – like for the “swap parties” – on social and commercial peer-to-peer events. Or you can just organize exchange and reuse of children’s facilities in your neighbourhood, or in the nursery, kindergarten or in your children’s school.
- Exchange, sell, rent or offer baby’s and children’s clothes or equipment:
- USA: http://telluridesitters.com/ or http://www.babyplays.com/ (rental of baby’s and children’s facilities) or http://www.childrensclothingexchange.com/ or http://ccexnola.com/
- Germany: http://www.luette-leihen.de/ (rental of baby’s facilities); http://www.spielmittel.de/ (rental of toys especially for handicapped children); http://www.springfloh.de/ or http://www.spielgalerie.de/ (rental of gambling equipment and services)
- Rent of diapers (with or without washing service and delivery):
Author: Stephanie Günther