Hello CommUnity ! During the last day at Alumni Unite ( 03-12-2017 ) we started a co-creation session to understand if and how a renting platform could be implemented. There I made a short pitch to explain why this is important for life quality and sustainability. For those who were not al the AU, here's a description of my original idea :
People like us ( InnoEnergy students) and many others are getting used to travelling a lot and changing location every couple of months, for studying, working and more. I often found my self in the position where I might want to buy something for my new house, or for any outdoor activity, but I end up not doing it because I know that I will only use that product for a short amount of time.
By facing this problem I realized that it would be nice if there was some kind of shop, or company, from which one can just rent any product for a semester or shorter periods, at a price lower than just buying the object. It is true that this is already possible for some products, but there are many more for which I haven't seen any renting options ( kitchen objects for example).
One might say that the best thing to do is just buy the object and then try to sell it before you leave. We all know that this last idea doesn't work all the times, and that it requires time and effort. I wanted something easier for the customer, where you can just rent something and bring it back without any time-waste or risk.
What about sustainability ? The industrial sector is the one responsible for the biggest part of GHG emissions, 32% of the total. I think this can partially be explained by the fact that we are used to consume a lot and use objects that don't last long, that we throw away as soon as they have a problem, or that we keep in our garage and just use once a year.
A renting company would benefit from owning objects that last long, that perform well, and can be rented out many times for reasonable prices. This could potentially re-shape a big part of the market : people might stop buying some kind of items and instead just rent them at the closest shop when they're needed.
This might also improve the life quality of people, that might own less, but use better goods when they need to.
Example : as an Italian, I often had to cook pasta for many people and ended up using 3 stoves and 3 ugly cheap IKEA pots, because that's the only thing I had, and I could not afford a nice pot that I would only use a few time during the semester. It would have been much easier to rent a 60 euros pot for one night ( maybe for 5 euros or something like that).
Anyway, I thought this might be a good idea so I started doing some calculations and I realized it is not easy to make the idea profitable, because the cost of storage and workers is not easily paid back, unless one is able to rent out many products per day. this might possibly work better on a large scale, or selecting only some kind of goods.
During the co-creating at AU, we thought this idea might be first developed by the CommUnity for the CommUnity, in those cities where we have lots of students and Alumni ( Barcelona, Stockholm, Lisbon, ...). This might add value to the lives of the people there and be a nice experiment to test the idea.
Sadly, I had to leave the co-creation session before it was over, because my plane was leaving.
It would be nice to get in touch with the people who were there ( I can't remember the names) and hear how the session ended.
Also, we can continue the discussion here and make it more real !