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the sharing economy, shared services etc

Artwork for episode 132 - Re-Action sharing

132 Re-Action – repairing: from radical to renaissance

This is #3 in the 5th Anniversary mini-series featuring the Re-Action Collective, and focuses on repairing. We hear from the founders of three UK businesses that are helping people repair their outdoor clothing and equipment: Rosanna Watson at Snowdonia Gear Repair, Becky Kirby at Sheffield Clothing Repair, and Vicky Balfour of Vicky Bikes.
The strapline for this episode was inspired by Rose Macario, former CEO of Patagonia Inc, who wrote a blog back in 2015 declaring that ‘repair is a radical act’. But repairing and caring for our things used to be the norm, until we’ve gradually been persuaded to treat our stuff as disposable, and to think that newer is always better. But many of us are discovering that’s not true, and that repairing, customising and caring for our clothing and equipment is better for us, for our wallets, and for our futures.
Now, repairing is having a renaissance, with millions of people finding ways to do DIY repairs, or find repairers with specialist skills and the relevant spare parts.
We speak to the founders of 3 businesses to discover what motivates people to repair, why repaired items can be better than replacements, and what to look out to make sure your gear is easy to care for and repair.

Artwork for Circular Economy Podcast episode 131

131 Re-Action – Sharing: Serving more people with less stuff

This is #2 in the 5th Anniversary mini-series featuring the Re-Action Collective, and focuses on sharing and ‘pay to use’. We hear from the founders of three startups enabling people to have convenient and affordable access to high-quality outdoor gear: Anna Smoothy from Cirkel Supply, Rebecca Heaps from Tentshare and Bruce Leishman from KitUp Adventures.
The strapline for this episode – serving more people with less stuff – was inspired by Anna Smoothy at Cirkel Supply. I loved their aim, to serve more people with less products. and that aligns with one of my favourite phrases at the moment, about the need for businesses to do better, with much less.
Sharing, including ‘pay to use’ systems, is one of the 3 key circular economy strategies that I encourage businesses to focus on. Sharing can be a catch-all term for commercial arrangements that make it easy to use something for a short period, rather than owning it. These systems can help organisations to serve other organisations, to serve individuals, or for people to serve other users.
For decades, we’ve been happy to rent houses, holiday accommodation, cars, skis and bicycles, movies and more – and now people are branching out into other categories. Rental and subscription services are popping up for technology, fashion and accessories, home appliances, furniture and more, avoiding the need to buy things you aren’t sure you’ll want to use over the long term. Often, these are disruptive startups using online platforms to provide convenient, flexible ways to access high-quality brands at affordable prices.
Sharing is really coming to the forefront, in particular for younger people who want access to the stuff they need and see ownership as a burden, not a benefit.
Global revenue growth for sharing and renting is forecast to grow at 30% each year, and is key to helping us do much more, with much less. In other words, we get more use – or productivity – from underutilised assets – meaning we need fewer of them in the overall system. This is sometimes referred to as Decoupling. (The UN defines Absolute Decoupling as “a situation in which resource productivity grows faster than economic activity (GDP) and resource use is absolutely declining.”)

Artwork for episode 130 with Heather Davies

130 Heather Davies: the Re-Action Collective

It’s now 5 years since I started the podcast, and to celebrate, I’m doing a 5th anniversary mini-series. I’ve invited several guests from the Re-Action Collective, a group of circular economy pioneers in the outdoor sports sector. Over the next few episodes, we’ll be hearing from them and exploring 3 different types of circularity – sharing, repairing and repurposing.
The Re-Action Collective was formed in 2022, by Gavin Fernie-Jones and his friend, Heather Davies. We met Gavin back in Episode 72, talking about One Tree at a Time, a circular social enterprise to repurpose outdoor gear and ski-wear and to share value with the community and nature.
In this episode, we’ll meet Gavin’s co-founder, Heather Davies, a freelance sustainability-focused content creator and communications trainer. Heather is motivated by a love of nature and the outdoors, and she works with a range of organisations, helping them communicate their sustainability stories and strategies, without greenwashing. She also offers training, including carbon literacy courses.
The Re-Action Collective is all about Making the outdoors more affordable and accessible, and over the next few episodes, we’ll meet some of the member organisations, with business models based on sharing, repairing and repurposing.
Heather and Gavin formed Re-Action to challenge product marketing that tells us we need shiny new, highly technical kit to access the outdoors. They say “We live in the outdoors and we know this isn’t true. We also know a lack of access to basic outdoor kit and absence of community are barriers to people getting outside and active for the benefit of their physical and mental health.”
The Re-Action Collective wants to amplify the voice and impact of circular economy pioneers in the outdoor sports sector, for example running, cycling, climbing, surfing, sailing and snow sports. Member organisations rescue products and revive them through repair, rebranding and repurposing. They then redistribute items through resale, rental and donation and reallocate profits to regenerate the outdoors.
Re-Action is focused on community-first solutions and wants to empower citizens to be more mindful about how they buy, maintain and dispose of their outdoor clothing and equipment.
We’ll hear how the collective works in practice, and how they’ve developed ways to avoid the pitfalls of shared interest groups that end up being hard to engage with, because they generate too much information and conversation.

Circular Economy Podcast artwork - Ep 124 Share Shed

124 Share Shed: the world’s first travelling library of things

Mirella Ferraz is co-founder of Share Shed, the world’s first travelling library of things. The Share Shed van visits rural communities, so people can borrow a wide range of useful things, including tools, household appliances, camping and gardening equipment, sewing machines, suitcases and much more!
Share Shed aims to
• Help people save money, space and resources, and reduce clutter
• Build bridges between people’s needs and wants and the resources already available in their community
• Support more collaborative and sustainable lifestyles and inspire people to engage in social change
Mirella Ferraz has worked for over 10 years at the Network of Wellbeing, which supports Share Shed, and she is proud to set up and run community projects that support the wellbeing of people and the planet. Mirella grew up in Brazil, and currently lives in Devon, UK.
We find out how Share Shed works in practice, and how it’s been evolving as it expands to serve more communities – including finding was to make the service more convenient for those who can’t make it to the Shed’s pick up and drop off locations and schedule.
Mirella tells us how perceptions and attitudes are changing, too – for a variety of reasons.

Circular Economy Podcast 114 Daniel Kietzer: making resources discoverable & reusable

114 Daniel Kietzer: making resources discoverable & reusable

Daniel Kietzer is Director of Ecosystem Growth at Rheaply, a digital sharing platform scaling reuse by making resources discoverable, easily transferable and more valuable.
Rheaply was started in 2016, and has won lots of awards, including Most Innovative Reuse Company at the Reusies in 2021. It’s backed by a number of early-stage investors, including Microsoft and Salesforce.
Daniel Kietzer provides strategic, organizational, and technical support to Rheaply clients and their partners. He’s a circular economy and sustainability professional with 10+ years of experience designing and leading impact-focused projects with forward-thinking companies and organizations across the globe. Daniel’s speciality is reuse and recycling market development is his specialty, but he also dabbles in social entrepreneurship, sustainability in the built environment, water, carbon, and a variety of other sustainability-related efforts.
We’ll get an update on how Rheaply has evolved since my original conversation with Tom Fecarotta back in 2020, in particular how data aggregation unlocks opportunities for cost and carbon savings, as well as supporting your zero waste targets. So many organisations could be tapping into these solutions to help them do better, with less.

Circular Economy Podcast - Gene Homicki - getting more from less with MyTurn

105 Gene Homicki – getting more from less with MyTurn

We’re going to hear about some amazing software that helps with the 2nd of the 3 key circular strategies I advise people to use… getting more, from less. Finding ways to get more use out of under-utitlized objects can have big benefits, especially by reducing costs.
When we think about it, there are probably lots of things – both tools and toys – that we don’t use all day, every day. Sometimes we only use these things once or twice a year! But often, we want to be sure we can have access to that equipment, or that product, whenever we want. Those needs might be planned, say for camping equipment, or unplanned – like repair tools.
Today, we’ll hear from Gene Homicki, founder and CEO at MyTurn, a B2B platform that transforms idle equipment into value. MyTurn helps organizations to optimize asset usage, reduce waste, and generate revenue by making it easy to offer rental, lending, and product subscription services.
Gene is a serial entrepreneur and technology strategist who is dedicated to advancing the circular economy and sustainable systems. Over his career, he’s led teams delivering cutting-edge solutions for organizations like SEGA, ABC News, The Economist, and the National Science Foundation.
Gene co-founded the West Seattle Tool Library which has helped provide affordable access to thousands of people in the community. After seeing how much stuff people had in closets, garages and storage (while others had too little) and knowing that businesses, universities and governments had even more assets sitting idle, Gene founded myTurn.
MyTurn’s customers include businesses, communities, universities, and public sector organizations, and it is a for-profit public benefit corporation.
MyTurn’s platform has a wide range of features, from admin dashboards to online marketplaces, helping organizations of all shapes and sizes to identify and rent underutilized tools, equipment and other resources – either within the organisation, or by collaborating with others.
MyTurn’s customers are seeing big benefits from this circular solution, often increasing product reuse by 10 to 100 times compared to traditional ownership.

Circular Economy Podcast Episode 58 Elis Joudalova - OLIO

Episode 58 Elis Joudalova – OLIO

We talk to Elis Joudalova about OLIO, the #1 sharing app. OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. OLIO can also be used for non-food household items.
Elis looks after Market Growth & Partnerships for OLIO, and has kickstarted, grown and managed strong food sharing communities in Jersey, Guernsey and Stockholm. Elis is a sustainability, food waste and circular economy change-maker with a contagious passion for food, environment, community empowerment and systems thinking. She loves inspiring and empowering people and businesses to make a change, focuses on the long term vision and has . a unique entrepreneurial approach to solving problems.

Circular Economy Podcast Episode 38 - Zaqiya Cajee of SwopItup

Episode 38 – Zaqiya Cajee of SwopItup

Zaqiya Cajee is a young entrepreneur in the UK who has set up a not-for-profit scheme. SwopItUp helps young people to swap their fashionable clothes, so they can experiment with different trends, colours, shapes and so on, without being part of the throwaway culture – and save money!
We’ll hear how SwopItUp is developing technology to engage users and to help overcome the challenges of distancing during lockdow, to reduce the risk of the virus spreading via the clothes, and to track and analyse swapping trends.

Circular Economy Podcast Ep 37 Lieke van Kerkoven FLOOW2

Episode 37 – Lieke van Kerkoven of FLOOW2

We talk to Lieke van Kerkhoven, Co-founder of FLOOW2 Healthcare.
Lieke aims to drive the global change towards a circular economy, by bringing the innovative concept of sharing to the healthcare sector. FLOOW2 is a business that helps other organisations to share all sorts of resources. It helps ‘intensify’ resource loops, so we can get more use and productivity out of many different kinds of resources, everything from equipment to staff. Back in 2012, FLOOW2 Healthcare became the first sharing marketplace for healthcare organizations, making it easy to share equipment, services, facilities, knowledge and skills within, or between organizations.
Lieke has a professional background in healthcare. She studied medicine and over the following 10 years, she held managerial and organizational positions in healthcare organizations in The Netherlands and abroad. She experienced first-hand how much organizations can benefit from sharing their assets, in the first place financially, and also socially and environmentally.

Circular Economy Podcast Episode 30 - what have we learnt?

Episode 30 – What have we learned?

We review the last 9 episodes, exploring key themes & summarising what we’ve learned. Plus, we hear from Geoff van Sonsbeeck, on womenswear brand Baukjen’s packaging approach.
The wonders of online communication mean we’ve been to the United States, Jordan, Uganda, Canada and Ghana in the last nine episodes. We’ve talked to a start-up looking for funding, two social enterprises, two charities, a community cooperative, and several businesses that have been growing for 15-20 years.
If we look at the circular economy strategies of these organisations: five are helping to ‘Close the Loop and Regenerate’, two are ‘Slowing the Flow’ of materials through more durable, circular designs, and two are ‘Intensifying the Flow’ through sharing services.
We’ll also look at how these different organisations are creating value for different groups – for their customers, suppliers, employees, communities – and for our planet.