Community borrowing

Borrowing looks set to become one of the most popular ways to protect the planet this year

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 4 February 2022

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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Sustainability is a top priority for Brits as we continue into 2022, according to sharing app OLIO.

Green commitments are high on people’s lists of 2022 intentions as we pledge to live more sustainably and reduce our environmental footprint. 
 
According to OLIO, which has more than 5 million users worldwide, 81% of its UK community will be making sustainability-related resolutions this year – with cutting back on food waste and single-use plastic and eating less meat some of the top goals.

Our attitude towards shopping is another major change on the horizon. One in five (18%) OLIO users plan to buy fewer new items in 2022, and instead will be focusing on borrowing items or shopping secondhand, where possible.

Sustainability and community spirit

A massive two-thirds (68%) of OLIO respondents said that having the ability to borrow, as opposed to buying new, would have a significant impact on living more sustainably.
 
Key to this will be community spirit, with a fifth (21%) of respondents stating strong community links will be integral to achieving their eco goals.

It would appear that community spirit is very much alive and well, with one in 10 (12%) respondents saying they feel more connected to their neighbours and community since the pandemic. 
 

Borrow household items

The research coincides with the launch of OLIO’s newest function, BORROW, which allows app users to list commonly used household items that are available for their neighbours to borrow on a temporary basis. 
 
Since its pilot late last year, the new BORROW function has already gained over 3,000 listings from users.

In a matter of weeks, everything from power tools and airbeds to pasta makers and even disco balls has been listed.

A history of sharing

OLIO – a local community app that connects neighbours with each other to help them share more, care more and waste less – has had successful shares in 61 countries.

OLIO is well known for its work to tackle food waste; it links neighbours and businesses to share surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.

‘Last year was a huge win for sustainability in terms of raising awareness, with COP26 ensuring climate change finally became a firm part of the global news agenda. However it’s clear from this new data that 2022 is the year for turning the talk into action.
 
‘One of the easiest ways we can each play our part is by reducing our consumption – so that means buying fewer brand new items and instead thinking more about sharing, reusing and borrowing.
 
‘Most of us have lots of useful items dotted around the house that we barely use – the new OLIO BORROW feature means that you can now make these items available for your neighbours to borrow for short periods of time, which feels really great. 
 
‘So the next time you’re thinking of doing a spot of DIY, instead of spending your hard-earned money on a new drill that you won’t use again for years, why not see if someone round the corner can lend you one?’

TESSA CLARKE
OLIO co-founder and CEO

Half of all food added to the app is requested within 21 minutes of posting. A year ago it launched an initiative with all 2,700 of Tesco’s stores, taking food nearing the end of its shelf life and redistributing it locally via volunteers known as Food Waste Heroes.

There are now over 35,000 Food Waste Heroes operating in the UK. 

Planet-positive living

Since the beginning of the pandemic OLIO has grown five fold in terms of the number of listings coming onto the app. It has also passed the milestone of over 5 million community members, with half of these based in the UK. 

Since its launch five years ago, OLIOers have shared 34 million portions of food, which has had an environmental impact equivalent to taking 101 million car miles off the road, has saved 5  billion litres of water and prevented 29k tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.

OLIO has now broadened its offer to include the free sharing of household items such as toiletries, kitchen appliances, books, clothes and toys.

The app’s GOALS feature – dubbed the ‘Tinder for sustainable living’ – offers guidance on how to live more sustainably, and provides prompts on how to live in a more planet-positive way. 

The MADE marketplace is the most recent addition to the app, it provides an opportunity for local makers to buy and sell homemade foods and handmade crafts. This enables its community to have a second income stream based on selling sustainable goods.

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