Clear Hurdles to Sharing with Yerdle
Yerdle is a new website and mobile platform that allows easy sharing and giving of common items. The idea is very simple: We want or need stuff, the people we know have the stuff we want or need, often unused. Yerdle enables you to get that stuff either to borrow or keep. That’s about it.
Yerdle is connected to your Facebook account. You and your friends post pics of the stuff you’re willing to give away or lend. You can post what you’re looking for and peruse offerings from other yerdle members on their site, Facebook timeline or iPhone.
Yerdle has an impressive team behind it and a lofty mission:
Co-founded by Adam Werbach, former President of the Sierra Club and Founder of Saatchi & Saatchi S, Andy Ruben, former Chief Sustainability Officer and head of Global Strategy at Walmart, and Carl Tashian from the founding team of Zipcar, yerdle was created to offer a sharing marketplace that provides an easy way to reduce consumer waste associated with buying items new. With Americans throwing away an astounding 31 million tons of plastic each year, packaging for new gifts over the holidays will clutter even the neatest home. yerdle’s mission is to reduce 20% of the things people buy through sharing, collectively protecting precious ecological resources.
We asked Adam Werbach a few questions about yerdle specifically and sharing systems in general–about how to get started and how sharing can compete with cheap consumer goods.
LE: What makes yerdle different from other sharing sites out there?
AW: Before supercenters and Amazon.com, the obvious place to get something you needed was from a friend or a neighbor. Need a shovel? Ask a neighbor. Kids need new shoes? Check with the cousins. In the last hundred years though, retail has become hyper-efficient, and it has become easier to buy something new than to borrow it or find it from a friend. Our goal with yerdle is to flip that on it’s head, and to make it easier and more fun to get things from your friends. Here’s how it works, you connect yerdle with your Facebook account and snap a few pictures with your iPhone of items you might be willing to share. Have a baby stroller you don’t need any more? Or an extra thermarest? Yerdle allows you to post items to either give or loan to your friends. The average person who logs on finds about 300 free items from their friends that are immediately available to them.
LE: How do you think technology is changing the face of sharing?
AW: Although sharing has been around forever, we’ve never really applied the advances of software to the sharing economy. The thing that you’re thinking of buying right now is probably sitting unused, and perhaps unwanted, in a friend’s closet or garage. The goal of yerdle is to float that information up to you when you’re considering a new purchase.
LE: How can yerdle compete with an abundance of cheap consumer goods–when it often seems easier to buy something from amazon that it does to browse through a site?
AW: The great thing about sharing is that it saves you money, it builds community and it saves natural resources. That’s a hard set of benefits to beat. Our challenge is to grow the community of folks who are willing to check in with their friends before they give something to Goodwill or buy something on Amazon. It’s not right for everything, but chances are you can save about 25% of the money you’re spending now on durable goods.
LE: What’s the best way to get started if you’re not actively sharing or if there is little sharing going on in your region?
AW: The best way to get started is to take a few photos of items that you are ready to part with. Put them up on yerdle and share them with your friends. You’ll be amazed at how quickly people start talking about what you’re doing. We’ve found that people are as interested in the social relationships as they are in getting something physical. It’s a good excuse to connect with old friends and to help folks.