Need to borrow a chainsaw? This app can help
Take a second and think about all the junk piled high in your broom closet, garage, or basement. I bet you can’t remember the last time you used that rusty, old chainsaw. What about that extra set of folding chairs, or that moldy suitcase, sitting sadly in the corner collecting dust and cobwebs?
There are some things you really just need to use once or a few times a year, at best. Enter sharing economy app Peerby. Borrowers in need simply enter what they’re hoping to borrow, and the app connects them to fellow Peerby users within their own neighborhoods who have what they’re looking for. According to Peerby’s website, we typically use about 80 percent of our possessions no more than once a month, so the app aims to cut down on the amount of useless crap we buy, all while fostering a greener, less cluttered sharing economy from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Peerby, which hails from The Netherlands, was launched in 2012 and was selected as the best urban app in the AppMyCity! competition. Right now, nearly 100,000 members in The Netherlands, Belgium, Berlin, and London use the free app and thousands of transactions happen every month. NPR reports:
At the Amsterdam headquarters of Peerby — which stands for peer to peer, nearby — founder Daan Weddepohl says he had the idea for the startup after his house burned down, and he had to borrow everything. At first, he says, he felt dependent, but then realized people generally like helping each other because it creates a bond.
“People are social animals,” Weddepohl says. “We like to help each other out. Borrowing things is probably one of the oldest behaviors in nature, and we are just making it easier through technology. We created a platform that makes it easy for people to find that neighbor that’s willing to lend what they need.”
The borrowing service won’t be offered in the U.S. until later this year. The company also has plans to start including an opt-in insurance program for its borrowers and lenders. While it’s too soon to say how strongly Peerby will take root in the U.S., we’re in favor of anything that helps curb superfluous spending habits and gets us to better know our neighbors, to boot. Mr. Rogers would be proud.