The three pillars of sustainable development are reduce, recycle and reuse. While reduction is largely in the realm of corporates and recycling is something even households have adopted, reuse is probably the weakest pillar.
Apart from thrift shops or hand-me-downs, reuse is not very common. That scenario may change for the better if Brooklyn-based designer Lina Fenequito’s Swap-O-Matic vending machine becomes popular.
This vending machine is not designed to dispense snacks or beverages or indeed, anything we usually associate with such machines. The machine is made up of a series of compartments into which one can deposit things that one no longer wants, but are in good enough condition for others to use it.
Everyone begins with three free credits. Each time you donate something, you earn a credit. You use these credits to “buy” something that you may fancy – and has been donated by someone else.
Alternatively, you can simply swap one of your items for something that is already inside. The touchscreen interface built on the front of the Swap-O-Matic vending machine lets you access your account by typing your e-mail address (of course, you need to first sign-up).
The Swap-O-Matic vending machine may not, at first sight, sound like a viable business model. But as Lina says, the purpose of her concept is to inspire all of us to rethink our consumption habits.
Over time, Lina hopes, her concept will grow roots within various communities around the world and lead to a grassroots movement that will help propagate the concept of reuse in more socially acceptable ways.