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In 2011, TIME named the “sharing economy” as one of the ten ideas that will change the world.  Airbnb, Uber, and Netflix have all become cultural icons of American middle-class society. While the authenticity behind the social benefits of collaborative consumption is debated, the environmental benefits are clear: sharing and renting more means producing and wasting less.  Houses, cars, and DVDs can all be shared— and now, you can add laundry machines to the list (or scratch it off your “Things I’m Saving Up For” list).

Dutch-entrepreneur Marcel Peters founded a subscription service for high-quality washing machines named Bundles to keep cheap, low-quality machines away from the landfill. We all know that we pay for what we get for— if we pay more for a good now, we will pay less for it in maintenance later. However, high quality washing machines have too high of an upfront cost for most consumers. Therefore, Peters’ solution for this “buy, use, throw away, buy again” mentality is to have an engineer come to your house and install a rental laundry machine with a plug that measures the number of loads done, how efficiently clothes are cleaned, and when the machine needs maintenance. Because Bundles would be in charge of the repairs, cheap, low-quality machines would avoid going to the landfill and, if the machine breaks down, Bundles would ensure that valuable recyclable resources are extracted, such as copper. Rental service plans range from €20,95per month for 25 loads to €30,95 for 40 loads. In order to encourage customers to reduce their water and detergent use, washes that are less than 30 minutes are free and if they do not use their quota, they get a refund for up to three loads. Hopefully, other appliance industries could be disrupted in a similar way in the future.

Sources:

Hickman, M. (2014, May 8). In Amsterdam, a washing machine subscription service for non-committal launderers. Mother Nature Network. Retrieved from http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/in-amsterdam-a-washing-machine-subscription-service-for-non-committal#ixzz3fCpg3bJ0

Schiller, B. (2014, May 6). The Newest Piece Of The Sharing Economy: A Subscription Service For Washing Machines. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcoexist.com/3029726/the-newest-piece-of-the-sharing-economy-a-subscription-service-for-washing-machines?utm_source=facebook

Walsh, B. (2011, March 17). 10 Ideas That Will Change the World. TIME. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2059521_2059717_2059710,00.html

 

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