Rotation is the new recycling
Look out recycling, there’s a new kid in town. One that’s more energy efficient, cheaper, and consumption lowering. Furthermore, if you live in a big city, chances are you can save a lot of money and time because of it.
In short, rotating your belongings means selling or gifting them. In recycling, you often downgrade the quality of the materials your working with, due to the treatment process, whereas you preserve the item exactly as it is when you rotate it.
For instance, when you recycle a plastic bottle, it is turned into another plastic product, but with a lower quality of plastic. If you rotate (sell or gift) a plastic box, it’s still going to be used as a plastic box, with the same quality of plastic.
The past 5 years have seen a widespread increase in sharing services. AirBNB, Über, and even Craigslist are among the many internet based platforms you can use to pay for services in a peer to peer regime.
You can sublet your apartment without the hassle of knowing someone, who knows someone. You can sign subscription on dresses, enabling you to wear a new stunning dress at every party. You can even have 2nd hand baby clothing mailed directly to you, washed and cleaned, in a leasing service.
The sharing economy is rising in every fiend of commerce
There are a growing number of services and facebook groups that offer 1:1 second hand sale, swap, or give away. You simple upload a picture of what ever you are selling or giving away, and then people respond, and come pick it up.
No more flea markets, no more trips to the recycling center. Someone else is picking up the tings you no longer need.
If you’re at the other end of the table, and are in need of one particular thing, then you can use these services to find people who just happen to be giving it away for free. The only thing you need to do is pick it up.
If you’ve ever moved to a new city, or a new country, you know how you often start your new life going: ‘Fuck, I need this thing!’ And then you need to spend a lot of time, and/or money getting it. Nowadays, all you need is an internet connection and some patience. If you aren’t extremely picky, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for, at a reasonable price, or free.
Why is it a good thing?
Environmentally, rotation is godsend. Whenever you help a product escape the gloomy faith of the trashcan, you are doing the environment a solid.
Take a table for instance. To make the table, you need wood.
Seeing as the wood may not have been grown under sustainable conditions, there’s a good chance of soil erosion and loss in biodiversity, being some of the costs of growing the tree that produced that wood.
The trees are cut down and transported using diesel driven machinery. Not good for the environment. Then shipping. Then maybe painting or the use of other chemicals to process the material.
Then packaging, usually cardboard, or bubble wrap. The manufacturing of both of these materials use a good dosage of chemicals and water.
Then more shipment to stores and showrooms.
And then you buy it. You also need to take it home. More transportation.
If you then decide to discard you table, and not rotate or recycle it, it goes to either land field, adding to the production of atmospheric methane gas, or it get’s incinerated. The ladder is more environmentally friendly, as most modern incineration plants have quite good combustion and air filters, and use the excess heat for district heating.
Do the environment a solid – rotate your stuff
If you instead of discarding decide to sell, or gift that table, you are eliminating all the formerly mentioned steps and pollutants, with the small exception of the transportation between you and the receiver of the table.
Isn’t it bad for the economy?
This is a valid question, and has often been the main point when arguing against recycling and peer to peer sales. Isn’t it bad for the economy if I stop buying tables? Not necessarily.
By not spending you money on furniture, or expensive hotels, you are freeing your money to be spent in other ways. You will now maybe buy one item of quality clothing, instead of 3 easily discarded items. Or you invest that money in investment pools, stocks, or bonds.
You could put that money into a college fund for you, or your children, now investing in both the educational system, and you country as a whole in the way, that you are adding to the amount of well educated citizens who, by the way, also make more money.
In short, the money saved by using these services does not end up in a mattress. They still end up in the economic system, but have usually been used to enhance the quality of your life.
A counter argument is often; well, if I don’t buy cheap clothing produced by child labor in India, the Children of Indian won’t have a job, ergo their quality of life will decrease. Though there is some legitimacy to this point, feeding the system of child labor through cheap clothing is treating the symptom, not the cause.
The argument is a mental loophole, used to justify your current purchasing habits. If it where to be true, you would not need to change your habits. This makes your brain happy, because habit changing is hard.
If you really want to do something to support children in 3rd world countries, there are plenty of programs you can donate money to. Or you can use your saved money to go to law school and become a human rights lawyer.
Getting back on track: Spend your money on happiness
Rotation, swapping, and battering are no longer reserved for students or low income families. It is, slowly but effectively, becoming a common practice.
I highly encourage you to embrace it. And then spend the money you save on enhacing the quality of life for you, or your loved once.
Live out dreams, go travel, or just buy that really high quality food that you love so much, but never buy.
Rotate your stuff, do the environment a solid, and enhance the quality of life.
End note: A big thanks to Majken, who was the source of inspiration for this post!