Can the sharing economy save the environment?

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on November 1, 2019

It can’t get more “reduce, reuse, recycle” than this.

In fact, the sharing economy has transformed the famous phrase into a lifestyle. Mostly popular among Millennials and Gen X, the selection of environmentally-friendly goods and services to contribute your earnings to are increasing. From shared vehicles and lodging to the scooters you see darting down the road, the sharing economy is sure to have something for you to take advantage of.

It’s the economy, stupid
Image credit: Swimply

Statistically speaking, the U.S. economy is booming as unemployment is at its lowest in 50 years. Nonetheless, the average American (family) is unhappy in the fight to achieve, or maintain, a great lifestyle. In fact, with the cost of living in major cities increasing by over 30% annually and average hourly wages failing to increase, luxury lifestyles are now viewed as unachievable fantasies. 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, 32% have no savings at all, and 2 in 3 Americans couldn’t afford the average cost of one summer vacation this year alone.

Although we understand money cannot directly buy happiness, it can certainly influence it. Let’s break this down. Having the money do fulfill your basic — or impulsive — needs and desires can relieve your stress when facing additional hardships, as every human does. In simpler words, it’s fair to expect internal stress when you can’t meet you basic needs like rent and food. What happens when an unexpected expense simultaneously arises? More stress. As your salary increases, so does your emotional well being.

Money, meet happiness

We are wanderers by nature. On average, the human mind wanders 47% of the time, often to a dark place. A 2003 study found people happier when anticipating and engaging in a planned experience, or reflecting on positive memories. Having great memories to share also helps alleviate feelings of inferiority when hearing others share their experiences. The question is: how do you make the most of your experiences when money is tight?

Image credit: Swimply.

This is where the sharing economy saves the day. By definition, the sharing economy is a system of peer-to-peer platforms providing access to shared goods and services. Although only 27% of American adults have used a sharing service in the past six months, estimates pronounce that 86.5 million Americans will use the sharing economy by 2021. Saying this, buying and owning this are a thing of the past.

Sharing is caring

Factually speaking, there are nearly 8 billion of us so there’s truly no need in purchasing every item you have the desire to use. There will always be someone with ownership of something you want willing to temporarily extend it to you.

Over three in five people see sharing as more sustainable than ownership, as well as more cost efficient. Consider a rideshare like Lyft or Uber during your next adventure. Renting nearby electric scooters can be a cheaper, more thrilling, and hands-on alternative, as well. Scooters also contribute significantly less carbon emissions. Whether you’re seeking accommodations, storage, transportation, or to turn the tables and become an “asset vendor,” the sharing economy has something to offer you and the environment.

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Brian Wallace is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He is an entrepreneur, writer, and podcast host. He is the Founder and President of NowSourcing and has been featured in Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times. Brian previously wrote for Mashable and currently writes for Hacker Noon, CMSWire, Business 2 Community, and more. His Next Action podcast features entrepreneurs trying to get to the next level. Brian also hosts #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, promoting the use of LinkedIn among professionals wanting to grow their careers.

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