This App Makes Borrowing Between Neighbors Easy To Reduce Waste

Too often, people buy new items with the best intentions, only to have them collect dust in an attic. Now, the handy app 'Peerby' allows you to connect with neighbors to trade and reduce waste.


May 13 2019, Updated 4:42 p.m. ET

Have you ever bought something, then wondered to yourself how much use you’d really get out of it in the long run? For most of us, we buy that barbecue, ladder, or dolly with good intentions, but it’s not long until it starts to collect dust. Eventually, whether because it takes up too much space or you have to leave it behind while moving to a new home, the item might find its way to the trash and become one more thing in the landfill. That seemed to be the only option for a long time, but one company has solved this inefficient and financially wasteful issue. 

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Peerby was built as a website and app to help people borrow and share things with their neighbors without having to deal with any awkward or unsafe situations. The way it works is you put your request out there to the community and Peerby then asks the people closest to you if they might have what you need. Within about 30 minutes, you should know if you can skip your Walmart run to splurge on a new camping tent and just borrow one from the avid camper you didn't know lived next door. The app is completely free to use so you can now keep your money, find a tent, and make a new friend. Pretty good deal, huh? 

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The idea for this system started during 2012 in the Netherlands by CEO and founder, Daan Weddepohl. Based in Amsterdam, the company later raised $2.2 million from users on in order to expand it’s local sharing platform internationally. The speed at which the goal was reached and exceeded was a new Dutch record in crowdfunding. The market spoke and the message was loud and clear: People want to incorporate smarter consumption into their lives with better alternatives to buying things.  

As a sustainable alternative, sharing items that are already out in the world helps alleviate the ongoing consumption of cheaply made items that find their way into trash bins much too quickly. While cheaper items may seem like an economic choice at the time of purchase, their shorter life span negatively impacts wallets and the environment in the long run. Product production and consumption contributes to one eighth of C02 emissions, which can be minimized by sharing already made useful items. For example, an electric drill is often a necessary tool to complete a project but on average, it’s generally only used 13 minutes during its lifespan. Clearly more use can be squeezed out of something like that by simply sharing it.  

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Whether you’re a college student, a home owner, or just trying to live a minimalist lifestyle, this app is a great tool. While you might not need an electric drill this exact moment, there are lots of things that people borrow and lend on the site that can help you live a more economic and eco-friendly lifestyle. If you’re a student or just a book worm, and your local library is out of a book you need, your neighbor may have just what you're looking for. 

The site offers extensive books that people are willing to lend out; no library card required. Have an unexpected friend staying in town? Don't stress about sacrificing your couch; borrow an inflatable bed from the family next door and reclaim your favorite Netflix viewing perch. The app is particularly useful when trying to keep the cost down for events or one time investments. For example, Peerby helps you throw an epic bash without having to buy and find storage room for a disco ball or extra tables you'll only use for a few hours during the party.  

People in communities are generally happy to lend a cup of sugar, but why not take it to the next level and build new bonds with people while you're building your new cabinet? To get started, download the Peerby iPhone or Android app, or simply register online

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