An interesting article caught my attention last week: "At This Vending Machine, Swapping is the New Buying" by Liz Dwyer for GOOD. It discusses the "Swap-O-Matic," a vending machine for reused and recycled products and how they are trying to "shift culture away from an emphasis on unconscious consumption" by encouraging people to donate and receive used items for free. Pushing this idea of a new way of consumption a little further, I discovered this article by Venessa Miemis, from Emergent By Design: "A Tool for Building Resilient Cities." In it she talks about the idea of "collaborative consumption" and building "a tool that helps local communities share resources and reduce expenses using geolocation, interactive mapping, and visualization." It is like the Swap-O-Matic but on a much larger scale to help whole communities strengthen their resources to help them better weather the tough economic times.

With the inspiration of the Swap-O-Matic, how could we build a tool for communities to reduce unconscious consumption and encourage collaborative consumption in hopes of reducing waste?

Here is a video on how the Swap-O-Matic works:

Swap-o-matic - Promotional Video #1 from Lina Fenequito on Vimeo.

Here is an online marketplace with a similar idea:  Swap


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