Call it what you will: the Sharing Economy, Collaborative Consumption, or as TreeHugger used to, the Product Service System or PSS. As Warren first defined it:
Basically it is about providing the service of the product – what it does for you - without requiring the individual ownership.... Because we, in essence, share such human resources, instead of each of us all owning one apiece, the demand on natural resources is massively reduced.
We have seen it used for tools, (why buy a drill when what you really want is a hole?) clothing, and now there is a Kitchen Library. Founded in Toronto by Dayna Boyer, it is a "non-profit lending library of small to medium size kitchen appliances." So if you need a Bundt cake pan or a fondue pot (not things that you need clogging your kitchen cupboards, you can go off to the Kitchen Library and borrow what you need for up to five days. Boyer tells the National Post:
I think a lot of people go on Pinterest and they create all of these boards of all of the things that they want to be making. [Our service is about] taking people that one step further, and giving them the resources they need to be actually creating the recipes that inspire themI think of the kitchen library as levelling that playing field, giving everybody access to the equipment to make healthy meals and to do batch cooking, so that price and affordability and space aren’t a barrier for those things.
Borrowing a food processor is a bit different than an electric drill, which usually is not used to make food. Cleanliness could be an issue. Boyer tells the Library Journal:
We encourage people to return clean equipment, and we meticulously hand wash and dry everything after it’s been returned.” Because the inventory is donated, “We can’t guarantee the appliances haven’t been in touch with peanuts,” or other allergens, but “we hope to get more industrial-style cleaning equipment,” such as a sanitizing dishwasher, soon. And Boyer hopes that eventually the Library will be able to duplicate popular items, and designate certain appliances solely for vegetarian or vegan food preparation.
This is indeed a wonderful idea; so many people have closets full of stuff that they only use occasionally. It's an interesting mix of kitchen stuff, all donated. Boyer says " I’ve got a lot of ice cream makers!" Imagine the possibilities if they merged the Kitchen Library with RentTheChicken.
More at Library Journal.