Embrace the sharing economy for Earth Day

A monthly column from Waste Management.

  • Sunday, April 7, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion
Embrace the sharing economy for Earth Day

By Hannah Scholes

Special to the Record

The sharing economy is flourishing, leading to a stronger sense of community and environmental benefits. It’s a trend that facilitates peer-to-peer exchange of goods and services for everything from bicycles to lodging.

In many ways, our culture values experiences rather than ownership of things. Take the Marie Kondo movement, for example: Self-proclaimed minimalists find bliss in a life without the bookshelf of odds and ends. In the Puget Sound, community organizations are hearing the call and creating ways to reduce waste and excess by sharing with others.

How can we support a sharing economy in Snoqualmie? Let’s explore a few ideas.

One easy place to start is at your local second-hand store. Thrift stores will accept and repurpose old shoes, furniture, dishes, linens and toys. Stained or ripped clothing can even be recycled at many locations through King County’s Threadcycle program. Did you know the average American throws away about 70 pounds of clothing every year? Show your support for the planet by giving others a chance to take your donated items for a second spin. And make sure to search your local thrift store first for inexpensive, fun and unique items for your home and closet.

Tool libraries are another way to reduce waste and inspire all of your DIY dreams. These community centers promote equity, sustainability and good old-fashioned neighborly connections. Community members can easily join the tool library to gain free access to a wide variety of tools and classes. It’s the perfect solution for those items that you rarely use but are an absolute must for that home improvement project. Rather than buying your own hand saw, level, paint brush, or lawn mower, go the sustainable route and share it with your neighbors. Tool libraries also serve as community centers for events such as “repair cafes” where local “fixers” will help you bring new life to broken household items or damaged clothing. Check out King County’s website for upcoming repair cafes and to find a tool library near you.

Our third tip for reusing and reducing your waste is to connect with your neighbors via online networks such as Craigslist, Next Door, OfferUp or Buy Nothing Facebook groups. These online communities allow individuals to give or sell belongings to neighbors. They are great waste reduction tools, and also an uplifting reminder of human generosity and caring for community health.

Each April, Earth Month celebrations call attention to our impact on the planet. This year, let’s challenge ourselves, family and friends to embrace the sharing economy as a way to reuse and reduce waste. It’s easy, good for the planet and a great way to help build healthy communities.

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s education and outreach manager. Learn more about what can be recycled at RecycleOftenRecycleRight.com.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray’s research interests include postcolonial studies, spatial literary studies, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to teaching in the U.S., she worked as an editor with Routledge and taught English at colleges in India. She is a resident of Kirkland.
How chips define the evolving world order | Guest column

Semiconductor chips are the new oil that the world can go to war over.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Cartoon by Frank Shiers

Cartoon by Frank Shiers… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
My bold New Year’s resolutions – late, as usual | Whale

I was born late — exactly three weeks — despite my mother’s… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
For some state lawmakers, short session is all about re-election | Roegner

The Washington state Legislature opened on Jan. 10 against a backdrop of… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
Jan. 6, 2021: A date that will live in infamy | Guest column

Jan. 6, 2021. Sadly, for most Americans, that date has become one… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Are we driving more recklessly during the pandemic? | Roegner

Have you noticed — pre-snowstorm — more people taking chances with reckless… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com
Don’t fool yourself: COVID’s tentacles are long enough to reach even you | Robert Whale

From March 2020 until recently, it seemed to me that COVID-19 always… Continue reading

Most Read