"It's like Netflix meets Facebook," says Tim Jackson, founder of LendAround.com. "You list some DVDs you own, invite some friends you like, and start browsing their collections. The web site helps arrange loans, and keeps track of where everyone's DVDs are. And nobody pays anyone anything."The idea for LendAround came to Tim when he returned home to London after visiting a network of community groups helping vulnerable children in Africa. Looking around his home he was struck by how much stuff we all own and take for granted. He thought, "Wouldn't it be great, if instead of leaving things to gather dust on shelves, we could lend them to our friends?"
Thus LendAround. A free web tool that helps people to borrow things from their friends -- starting with DVDs. It lets you keep track of what you own, what you've borrowed, and who from. You choose who you trust, and you choose what to list. You're in control all the time. If a friend asks to borrow something of yours, saying yes is always optional.
Money Saved is Money Earnt
And save money in the process. Apparently in the US alone an estimated $7 billion a year is spent on movie rentals. which is kinda silly when similar estimates suggest that 80% of the two billion DVDs in US are only watched twice a year. So get those languishing disks into circulation, stay in touch with friends and save a few bucks along the way.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Tim figures most users will share DVDs with personal friends and colleagues at work, but Jackson also expects rapid growth in universities and among members of churches and sports clubs, who meet regularly and trust each other. So in most cases, DVDs are lent and returned by hand.
But LendAround also supports borrowing by mail. "When my brother in New York requests a DVD from a friend in Seattle, they can download and print a customized page with his address on it, wrap up the DVD in 30 seconds, and mail it for just 43 cents."
Got questions about how the process works in practice? No worries, check out their extensive FAQ page.
LendAround is currently in private beta for residents of the US aged 13 or over. Once it gets established the hope is that the system will expand well beyond DVDs. For as the LendAround team see it, "More sharing is good for the environment because it means less use of the world's resources to make products, less packaging and transportation, and less garbage and landfill when they are discarded."
An idea we have long promulgated here, with our posts on Product Service Systems, where you benefit from the use of 'stuff', without needing to own it. See related posts below.
Try it for yourself at ::LendAround
More Product Service Systems at TreeHugger
• Blockbuster - A PSS
• Read It Swap It — a True PSS
• Delicious Library - a Product Service System (PSS)
• Hire Things (and Cahooting)
• Toy Libraries - a Product Service System (PSS)
• Clothing Libraries: Another Product Service System