Beaming Green

" Library of stuff" - reducing your consumption

April 14, 2021 Season 1 Episode 22
Beaming Green
" Library of stuff" - reducing your consumption
Chapters
Beaming Green
" Library of stuff" - reducing your consumption
Apr 14, 2021 Season 1 Episode 22

Libraries are traditionally associated with borrowing books. These days, with an increasing awareness that once a product reaches its used-by date ‘there is no away’, many waste-conscious communities are creating tool libraries. This is a great way to pool resources, borrowing, rather than buying tools, camping goods, PAs, party equipment and man other household items. Tool libraries are a great way of sharing resources, saving money for individual households and saving the environment from more waste.

In a world where we are consuming so much and exploiting the worlds resources, tool libraries offer a win-win solution. Here are a couple of statistics from the story of stuff  to make you think a little more about our consumption. The average U.S. person now consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago, for every one garbage can of waste you put out on the curb, 70 garbage cans of waste were made upstream to make the junk in that one garbage can you put out on the curb and lastly, if everybody in the world consumed at U.S. rates, we would need 3 to 5 planets.  So here are a couple of reason why a tool library may help reduce consumption.

In this episode on Beaming Green I speak with Sasha Mainsbridge, who with the help of other volunteers, has created a tool library in the Northern Rivers town of Mullumbimby, called the “Library of Stuff”.

In this episode Sasha and I discuss:

  • what the “Library of Stuff” does and its philosophy
  • how long people can borrow items for
  • what types of products people can borrow
  • why volunteers are essential to make these initiatives work
  • what a membership fee of $50 per annum gets you
  • how the Library of Stuff is structured
  • what you need to start your own tool library.

Weblinks:
Library of Stuff
Mullum Cares
Salvage Culture

Bio

Sasha Mainsbridge is a Behavioural Scientist and Operational Efficiency Specialist who left her corporate life in 2012 after 13 years in personal insurance to forge a new path focused on her passion for reducing consumption to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

In 2014, after studying Conservation and Land Management, Sasha moved her family from Melbourne to Mullumbimby and started Mullum Cares Incorporated in 2015.  The Library of Stuff began informally in April 2017 then launched officially two years later.  Sasha is currently looking for subsidised real estate to scale the Library’s operations and start a second project, a Reverse Garbage for the Northern Rivers.

 

Show Notes Transcript

Libraries are traditionally associated with borrowing books. These days, with an increasing awareness that once a product reaches its used-by date ‘there is no away’, many waste-conscious communities are creating tool libraries. This is a great way to pool resources, borrowing, rather than buying tools, camping goods, PAs, party equipment and man other household items. Tool libraries are a great way of sharing resources, saving money for individual households and saving the environment from more waste.

In a world where we are consuming so much and exploiting the worlds resources, tool libraries offer a win-win solution. Here are a couple of statistics from the story of stuff  to make you think a little more about our consumption. The average U.S. person now consumes twice as much as they did 50 years ago, for every one garbage can of waste you put out on the curb, 70 garbage cans of waste were made upstream to make the junk in that one garbage can you put out on the curb and lastly, if everybody in the world consumed at U.S. rates, we would need 3 to 5 planets.  So here are a couple of reason why a tool library may help reduce consumption.

In this episode on Beaming Green I speak with Sasha Mainsbridge, who with the help of other volunteers, has created a tool library in the Northern Rivers town of Mullumbimby, called the “Library of Stuff”.

In this episode Sasha and I discuss:

  • what the “Library of Stuff” does and its philosophy
  • how long people can borrow items for
  • what types of products people can borrow
  • why volunteers are essential to make these initiatives work
  • what a membership fee of $50 per annum gets you
  • how the Library of Stuff is structured
  • what you need to start your own tool library.

Weblinks:
Library of Stuff
Mullum Cares
Salvage Culture

Bio

Sasha Mainsbridge is a Behavioural Scientist and Operational Efficiency Specialist who left her corporate life in 2012 after 13 years in personal insurance to forge a new path focused on her passion for reducing consumption to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

In 2014, after studying Conservation and Land Management, Sasha moved her family from Melbourne to Mullumbimby and started Mullum Cares Incorporated in 2015.  The Library of Stuff began informally in April 2017 then launched officially two years later.  Sasha is currently looking for subsidised real estate to scale the Library’s operations and start a second project, a Reverse Garbage for the Northern Rivers.

 

Jeremy Melder  00:00

Hello, my name is Jeremy Melder, and I'm the presenter from Beaming Green. Before we start, I would like to acknowledge that this podcast is being held on the traditional lands of the Bundjalung people and paying our respects to elders both past, present and emerging. The Beaming Green podcast is a podcast that will help you take out some of the stress and confusion about how to live your life more sustainably. We do this by introducing you to inspiring people with first-hand experience and expertise who covered aspects of sustainability, from human interest to environmental perspectives, helping you to thrive and enhance your life and the lives of your friends and family. Today, I'm really pleased and excited to be speaking with Sasha Mainsbridge, now she has created "The Library of Stuff"  that began in 2017 and then officially launched two years later.  Now you're probably wondering what the library of stuff is.  Now, you may be doing a home renovation and saying I need a sander, or I need a set of pliers or something like that just for the weekend.  Well, the "Library of stuff" is where you will go and borrow this from there.  This has set us so that you don't have to go off and buy this as it is for temporary use.  Sasha's background is as a behavioral scientist and operational efficiency specialist who left her corporate life in 2012, after 13 years in personal insurance, to forge a new path, focused on her passion for reducing consumption to mitigate the impacts of climate change.  I'm really hoping to welcome her to Beaming Green today.  Sasha, welcome to Beaming Green, I know that you are passionate about sustainability, I know I met you I don't know how long ago, but we are here to talk about your project you started called "Library of Stuff, now do you want to elaborate a bit on that for our listeners?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  02:09

Sure. Well, first of all, thanks very much for having me, Jeremy. Yes, I think we've known each other for I'd have to be four or five years at this stage. I can't remember when we first met either. But anyway, let's talk about the library. And maybe that'll come to me bit later. So, the library of stuff is a community share library. So, they're popping up all over the world. They basically are a library, but they don't have books. Normally, they might have books as well, but they tend to have tools. So, if you google tool library, that's generally what they're known as sort of collectively. And they have we have tools, camping gear, lots of board games, sporting equipment, and lots of catering gear. So, if you have a party so   example, a friend had a 50th last Saturday, she borrowed six marquees, six trestle tables, 60 plates, 100, cups, knives, forks, bawls, Bunting, which actually felt to be bad about borrowing so much stuff, she looked at the local hire company, and the cost that would have been for her to do it through them. And it was significant. And, and I think, definitely what we can improve in, improve on is reminding our members because it's a membership-based library. Yeah. And members pay $50 a year to be able to access the items. But because it's something quite new, we have to remind them that all the stuff is there. So, you don't have to have a lot of money to have a fabulous party if you're a member of our "Library have Stuff.

 

Jeremy Melder  03:42

So that's, so you're doing that because of what's the reason that you're providing this? I mean, it seems pretty obvious. But if you could just share with our listeners,

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  03:51

oh, look, it's purely a sort of an ethical consumption concept. Think I am, I was studying conservation and land management when I left the corporate world to go redundancy in 2012. I went to TAFE. And I was shown the 20-minute clip, which is the story of stuff, by the amazing Annie Leonard, who's now heads up Greenpeace International. So, if you haven't seen that 20-minute video I have, it's great. Oh, absolutely everybody should watch it, because that was like a pivotal changing moment in my life. And that's why our particular sort of community libraries called the library of stuff as a play on words from the story of stuff. So, when I learned about just you know that the really detrimental impacts from the way that some people in the manufacturing industries overseas are treated to just the reality of the waste that's been created by you know, what seems to be lower and lower and cheaper and cheaper quality items, the one of the obvious solutions or part of the solution to all of that horribleness is to buy better quality stuff.  But rather than everybody tries and buy better quality stuff, why don't we look at the items that we could share? And let's get good quality items that we can share

 

Jeremy Melder  05:17

So, party things are one, but I would say things like, lawn mowers, possibly, possibly a high. The probably a high use item that might be needed in a house, but, or a drill would be something that you'd need. Yeah, yeah, look, I

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  05:35

think, um, you know, we've been at this for two years, we launched in April 2019. So, there's been a lot of learning. And we, you know, we researched heavily other libraries around the world. So, we started, you know, with good basic knowledge, but nobody was more than a year ahead of us like, it is still quite a new concept. So, we're learning that certain things are like lawn mowers look at where we leave. Yeah, Crickey,  the people who are relying on our lawn mowers are having to borrow them for a week, every second week, right? So that's actually proved to be an item that we are working. We're working to find a better solution. The items in the library that work the best are items that you only need, you know, every now and every couple of months for a week, if you needed every second week, then we would have to have if we've got 150 members, we'd need 75 lawn mowers, wouldn't we?  Yeah.

 

Jeremy Melder  06:32

So, it's not sustainable,

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  06:34

not at all. So certain items are perfect, and other items aren't so good. But we are really, really happy to share our learnings with any new group that wants to start up. And I do spend quite a bit of time both on the phone and answering emails from other groups around Australia who are in the throes of organizing creating a library for their community.

 

Jeremy Melder  06:56

So how does how do you sustain yourself because a reliant on donor you obviously charging $50 for a membership? But in terms of buying all the tools? Are you expecting people to donate them to give you, you know, to manufacturers to gift it to you How does it work?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  07:15

Look, all of this is we're making it up as we go along still, we are reliant. We are volunteer based; I'm now being paid. So, the library of stuff is a project one of a couple of projects of an organization that I founded called Mullum Cares. So, I'm being paid through a philanthropist. I am supposed to be spending most of my time on a different project. But I have been having to spend more time on the library to keep it running well. So, when it comes to what I've only been paid since last September, so let's say before that it was 100% volunteer run. We got a $15,000 grant, back in 20. Well, that actually helped us launch fantastic. Yeah, yeah. So that was on the back of the floods. So, we actually applied to that we could have, so people, lots of people in Mullumbimby, where we're based had their houses flooded out, they needed to repair parts of their house, they needed to dry their houses out. We had the Red Cross contacting me because I was operating an informal lending out of my garage. But that was just cups and plates and bowls because I've been doing festival work for years to help festivals. Avoid single use stuff. Yeah, so someone had heard about what I was doing. And Bunnings was looking to donate a whole lot of things like lots of gernies and fans, because they were being absolutely inundated by desperate people at the counters at Bunnings all over the Northern Rivers, particularly Lismore and Mullumbimby needing help. Yeah, so Bunnings was looking for a community group or somewhere that would take some stock, yeah, and help the community but we weren't, we didn't have a physical space. And so, we had to pass on that opportunity, which was a bummer. but as a result of being approached about that, I went, Okay, well, maybe we can apply for a grant, maybe we can look for a space. And so, we applied for a grant, we got 15 grand, we bought a trailer and a whole lot of tools. And we and we but we really struggled for somewhere to be because there is like the $50 a year membership. We've I think we've got 140 members at the moment, but the first 100 members that pays our rent, which is only 50 bucks a week, but it pays our rent and our insurance. That's it. So, you got to have 100 members at 50 bucks a year before you break even for that. Yeah. And now that we've been going for two years, there are items that need to be replaced. We're having to repair stuff. So luckily, we've got those other 40 members, Yeah, but I noticed there's a tool library in the Blue Mountains. They've been around a bit longer than us, and they've just put their standard price up to $125 a year.  So, but when we surveyed our community heavily by having stalls at all sorts of markets. And I knew that our community wouldn't be able to afford $100 a year, even though that's the standard price point for community libraries. So yeah, we're very low $50. And it is quite precarious in terms of how sustainable we are. Yeah, we need there. There is or was a community library in Brisbane called the share shed now they've just folded.

 

Jeremy Melder  10:42

Right. Yeah. You told me about a couple of weeks ago, right.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  10:46

I haven't got a response back from them directly. But I have heard through the grapevine that it's been a financial reason that they've actually fallen over. Again, I haven't verified this. There's not a lot of money in it. None of us are getting rich. And volunteers are hard to come by. That's the other thing that we were really struggling with. We were it was a bit lucky for us. COVID. Last year,

 

Jeremy Melder  11:09

because people stayed around.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  11:10

Well, no, we had actually just gone from two days opening a week back to one because we couldn't actually get enough volunteers to open because we don't want to put any more pressure on people than fortnightly.

 

Jeremy Melder  11:23

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  11:24

So, two days a week fortnightly. We only had sort of four people.

 

Jeremy Melder  11:28

So, one of the things that I was thinking about is in terms of keeping all the tools and things that your people are borrowing maintained, are you able to cover those costs in terms of keeping them up to scratch?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  11:41

Well, look at the moment, all of all of that work is being done voluntarily. And I'd say you know, the most important volunteer for a library is the guy who tests and tags everything. So, the test and tagging machine cost $800. And I can't remember, I think the course that we put him through was, you know, $500, or something. So, you've got to have that as a start. And, and I can't imagine that it would be very easy to manage, if you were trying to share that role, you need one person who is completely responsible for ensuring that all of your electrical items are tested and tagged every three months, they have to be tested and tagged and like we add new electrical items monthly, if not fortnightly, so that person has to be available as donations come in, or you buy something new, they have to be tested and tagged before they get put into the system. So that volunteer is absolutely a necessity.

 

Jeremy Melder  12:41

And what are some of the other learnings that you've had during this like, you know, because people are probably listening going you look, it'd be lovely to have a tool shed or a library of stuff in our community? What are some of the other things that have been sort of obstacles you've had to, you know, encounter in your two years? I mean, you've mentioned already, you know, having a space is important. Having money is a resource, that's obviously important. And then there's volunteer, reliable volunteer staff. And then you got to test and tag these electrical appliances. What are the other things that you may have encountered?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  13:20

Um, well, look, I think no, everything is limited by the man hours that you have available, really. So, I, I hope to be able to do to have more success at being interviewed like this and getting more people who are hearing what I'm saying, inspired enough to really want to get involved. Yeah, because it is so awesome. Like, if you have a look, so our website is library of stuff.org.au, you have a look at the inventory, there's I don't know, it's 14 pages. So, it's a bit arduous to kind of go through all of them. Yeah. But you know, if we could, if I could inspire even just our, you know, our members to sit down and make a list of all the things that they'll be able to do in their life because they have access to these items. Even things like God, I haven't played tennis for like five years, I'm going to just going to borrow four tennis rackets and hire a court nearby. Like, it's, we, I think that particularly families, school holidays are a great example. Like, how do you how do you keep kids entertained? And even for us, it's like, I think a lot of people are struggling with finding that that entertainment is a screen....and we're all wishing that it was different. And that we could, you know. So, if you sat down and looked at our inventory and went, right, I'm going to find, you know, one thing a month through the inventory so that I can do something different this month. And I think that that would be so awesome. And I think that if people push themselves to do that, yeah, that they'd be happier because I think, you know, it's not just about COVID and we've all been sort of maybe stuck at home. But we it's all this new tech, it's creating stress and I think a lot of people are wishing that we could go back to a simpler life in many ways.

 

Jeremy Melder  15:09

Yeah, totally he there, I think that's really important. So basically, what you're looking at is educating people about how they can look at their purchasing decisions differently. To be bit more minimalistic, and to share items of, of value with people, even in their own communities, or if there is a library of stuff that they use those  to hire or to borrow those.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  15:42

Absolutely, I think more what I the way my viewpoint on the whole idea has shifted from primarily being about, you know, what can what, what level of convenience, are you prepared to give up for the environment?  to actually, you can forget that, that that can just actually be a side effect of the fact that if you join, or if you create and join, you're a member of a library of stuff, you're going to have access to all this really cool stuff that you know, even people who aren't financially particularly stretched, it's unlikely that they're going to have all of this stuff in their house. And like, we've got pasta maker,  ice cream makers, like wow, okay, gotta creme Brule torch like all of these really cool, quirky items. Yeah, um, that show, don't go and buy something, if you don't know that you're going to be any good at making pasta or if you're going to like it. Like that's a really typical item where it's like, awesome, I've never done it, but I'm going to do it

 

Jeremy Melder  16:42

you the name and show my parents right now. But they've been you know, buying all these appliances over the years that have been probably used once. Yeah. And that's what we're trying to make people aware of, isn't it? Yeah, we stopped buying all this stuff to keep to use once.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  17:00

yeah. And it comes back to we talked, you know, before we started recording, we discussed you know, a few things and, and the idea that real estate, my goodness, real estate in the Northern Rivers,

 

Jeremy Melder  17:11

Gone through the roof!

 

17:12

Yes. So, you know, all of these things that we buy that we really use are taking up real estate. Yes. Hmm. You know, absolutely. So, wouldn't we rather use that real estate for something else? Yeah. So, it's interesting. I did an interview once and I said, Yes, you know, empty your garages and, you know, turn them into like little yoga studios and bring everything down to the library and donate it. And then I was like, Oh, I shouldn't have said that. Because really what I don't we do love to take donations of really good quality things. And often what gets donated is stuff that people don't want.

 

Jeremy Melder  17:49

They don't love it, you know, haven't looked after it's

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  17:52

not great. Because that's the other thing like you know, what we're trying to what I Another benefit is that sometimes will increasingly the quality of products is just getting so crap that and that when you go and buy something that's cheap, your experience of it your enjoyment of it even like a you know, a cheap and crap like sander. Yeah, you know, you're not going to enjoy the job. It's going to make it harder. Yeah, so we only stock we only buy Makita blue tools. Yeah, cordless. Yeah.

 

Jeremy Melder  18:23

So, there's a plug for Makita here.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  18:25

Yeah, I know. And I have a mad Makita and said, you should really give us stuff like, you know, we are absolutely trying to reconnect people with what it how much better it is to use good quality thing. Yeah. We really want to try and connect. Like, imagine bringing back layby like we've gone from layby to after pay

 

Jeremy Melder  18:48

we must have it now.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  18:50

I know. So, you know, it's easy to see how quickly we have transitioned, my parents had an electrical repair store in in the 80s. So, we used to fix toasters, yeah. And irons? I mean, can you even imagine that that stuff doesn't happen at all? No.

 

Jeremy Melder  19:07

So, in terms of these items, we don't talk about these lower cost items that are available. Now. I think it's also worth highlighting the human effect that's happening, because this is brought down in cost, predominantly because of cheap labor or, well, you could say even abusive labor costs in third world countries, and we are buying this product and supporting that type of venture aren’t we

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  19:40

Well, that's it. I mean, from my perspective, the issue is, you don't really know, how do we know if it's made outside of Australia, particularly if it's made in a country that's not a first world country if it's not a democratic country? How can we be sure that people haven't been treated badly I was very affected by the collapse of the Rana Plaza. So, there was a four-story building with seamstresses, you know, making clothes for Kmart and Target and other brands and they died. Because, you know, the conditions that they were working in was such that there were  the building codes weren't there not went there. So, you know, I am, when I saw the story of stuff, and I was I really did connect with the reality of the worst that there's the worst-case scenario, it's not that everything that's made overseas is exploiting people. But the worst-case scenario was just it really, really impacted me emotionally to the point where I kind of stopped buying stuff. You know, I really did. I just stopped, they say buy nothing new in November. Well, I kind of went, I went into that mode of I'm just not buying anything, because unless it's made in Australia because I just don't know whether or not it's doing harm. Yeah. And then and then. So, the library of stuff was born from that, you know, sort of crisis that I had around, you know, what, what was my dollar doing? Yeah, you know, what, and I really believe in that concept of, you know, every dollar you spend drives demand. Yeah, for whatever it is that, you know, however a product is being made, if you buy it, they'll keep making it.

 

Jeremy Melder  21:22

Absolutely. And that's what we've got a vote with our wallets. That's it. But you're, I know, you're obviously doing better than I am, I am a sucker for electronic stuff. But I think there's a lot of people out there that are, you know, and like, I want to have the design worked in IT and want and work with the technology. And I wanted to have the latest phone and I totally know myself and now more and more conscious of it. But it's just like, we just not need to bring that to the to the table and say, Look, I'm guilty of this. I've done that. But we can make a difference, can't we?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  22:00

Absolutely. And I think you know, what happened to me was I, I felt so overwhelmed with guilt that I was always rendered incapable of starting this being part of the solution. So, I don't at all suggest that anybody should, you know, I don't think guilty is helpful. And well, no. But and look, technologies is simply a necessity for all of us at the moment. So, you know, it's a case of doing what you can, starting with, where you've got really discretionary spending. I mean, the whole concept of, you know, the people who are doing the most damage are the people who are spending the most money. So, you know, I'm not suggesting at all that people who are, you know, currently really strapped, no need to worry about this. It's, it's if you have got money and you can choose to buy something or go without it. That's that that's where you start? It's like, Okay, well, I kind of I don't really need this stuff. But I'd like it. So, I'm going to have like, anything to do with home wares. Right? So, there are ethical homewares stores there. There are places that are so good on you is a really great website if you want to look at clothing. Yeah, so ethically made clothing. And Biome is an excellent website for all things. Ethical. Yeah. So, if you just start with those two websites, "Good on you" for clothing and "Biome" for all sorts of home wares and other things, then you might go Okay, well, I've never considered buying my clothing detergent, anywhere other than the supermarket. But yeah, you know, I quite like the look of this. Because supermarkets aren't their core purpose isn't to provide you with ethically made products. So, spending a few of the dollars that you would have spent anyway, somewhere else with a company that they exist, yeah, to actually grow ethic that you know, the prevalence of ethical products. Yeah, that's where I would start. Okay, that's it. Yeah, I

 

Jeremy Melder  23:57

think that's really important. What you, you know, looking, trying to find people that are providing ethical products and services is one way to start, isn't it? Another idea, and I'd like to run this past you are that if you live in a street, you know, I'll use the example of the lawn mower. But you know, if there's 10 houses, you all know each other, why not buy a mower together and share that?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  24:22

Definitely. Yeah, and I would agree, actually, that would be my recommendation. I think I might even once I have the time, work on trying to bring that to Mullumbimby as an additional layer, because the library, as I mentioned earlier, it's we've worked out the lawnmower idea. It's not working. Yeah. So, the library of stuff is designed for you to borrow stuff for one week, every couple of months really, ideally. Now, a lawn mower with the growth rates, we've had whipper snippers. They're just it's not working. Yeah. So, what you need is that's a perfect neighborhood. If you could, if you could find someone in a neighborhood, that's got some space, that they could put a little shed? Yeah. And you could get 20 neighbors to get together, then that would be amazing. That's a whole other project that I think would definitely have legs a problem. Can I just caution? The one thing that I need to caution on that is I've been involved in peer-to-peer lending platforms before. So, what, what is the risk with that sort of local neighborhood system? Is that because unless you have someone who's kind of the chief organizer, then it's kind of everybody's equal. And if something's left dirty, or you know, in a poor state, then you'll start getting niggles?

 

Jeremy Melder  25:40

Yes, right, after some ground rules

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  25:44

you kind of need to have someone who's, who's different, who set apart so for us, a library of stuff committee is separate to the members. Okay. So, I was involved in Toy libraries in Victoria. And I saw how well they worked. So, we just knew as a committee that some stuff would come back dirty, sometimes stuff would come back broken, but we didn't take it personally, because it wasn't our stuff. I've seen peer to peer lending platforms, many of them started, they've all fallen over.

 

Jeremy Melder  26:15

So can you Sorry, I'm trying to understand what peer to peer

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  26:19

to peer means my staff, I'm lending it to you. And so, you're, I'm lending myself directly to you. Right? So, people said the share hood was an was a startup in Melbourne. And what you did was you joined up and you put you listed all the things that you had at your house that you were happy to lend to other people. But their experience was pretty much people would lend their staff two or three times and then they leave. And it's because people are different. Yeah, they really are people's sort of the way they will bring back we perceive as some people wash them and there isn't a blade of grass. Other people go, why would I do that? That seems ridiculous. So, you know, to other people, it seems filthy. So, you take the personal out of it when you've got a committee in the middle, who doesn't take it personally when stuff comes back in a can in a state that other people might balk at. So that's why just be mindful of that. But the other opportunity is for community gardens to be that's where that's another place where if you've got a local community garden, yes, because I've spoken to the Shara community garden committee about this in Ocean Shores. It's on their list of things to do. But like every other volunteer group, they've got a lot of other things to look at. But I reckon if a community garden has got tools that they use there, which they do, then potentially the members of the community garden could be able to borrow that stuff, because community gardens generally have a lawnmower. Yeah, but they don't use it all day, all day, every day. So that might be a way. Yeah. Because I think you do need to have a committee rather than it be.

 

Jeremy Melder  27:56

So, if you if I look at, you know, I know, this is not about cleanliness of books. But if I look at borrowing a book from a library, there's a set of ground rules I've got to deliver it, I've got to borrow it and return it in the same shape. And within 14 days, or whatever it is. Do you think that having like an agreement that someone that's borrowing a lawnmower or with a whipper snipper says that they agree to return this item? in whatever way is supposed to be? Otherwise? I have a financial penalty.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  28:30

Well, look, we I mean, all libraries have agreements. Yeah. So, they're, they're generally are built into the membership agreement that you bring stuff back. Like I think our wording is something sort of supposed to be cute. Like, please bring back items slightly more sparkly than when you borrowed them. And we try it. I think there's an in there's a paragraph which says, you know, we're volunteer run, we don't wash stuff in between, we don't have the time to do that. So please bring back things in a state that you'd be happy to pick them up. But as I said before, people's you know, people's exact the way that plays out in reality can be different.

 

Jeremy Melder  29:12

Yeah, absolutely. So look, going back to the lawn mower idea and then the street idea, I think it still has some legs in in thinking about and some great ideas that you've got in terms of having someone that's outside of that whole thing that is sort of the adjudicator is that sort of thing saying that, you know, this is the way you know, I want in every lending you the lawn mower, it's got to come back in the same way clean and so on. But it's also like they would also be contributing as this cooperative in the street towards the maintenance and all those things, you know, so I'd say that would reduce costs for people to as well as sharing and being neighborly?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  29:50

No absolutely and things like you know, if you were going to do a neighborhood sort of tool shed which is such a cool idea, I highly recommend that you look at all of all of the battery-operated stuff on. All right, we've got a new Makita lawnmower that runs on batteries. It's so good. It's so quiet. It's such a joy to use all their whipper snippers are such a joy to use. There are no fossil fuels, which is just another benefit. And I think Makita is moving from a three year to a five-year warranty. Yeah, so that's the other thing, these machines are expensive. But if you can take them back and get them fixed, then you're saving money.

 

Jeremy Melder  30:32

I think this is a sponsorship for Makita, I think we might have to get them to donate some tools to the library of stuff in Mullumbimby. What do you think?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  30:39

Definitely. And the other thing that, um, did you know that Mullum power tools has moved to a Murwillumbah? No. It's hilarious. Xavier, who owns Mullum power tools has moved to Murwillumbah. But he hasn't changed the name said that's where if you're in the Northern Rivers, and you want to take your Makita blue for fixing you take them now to Mullum power tools in Murwillumbah.

 

Jeremy Melder  31:03

Makes no sense at all. Sasha, look, I would like you to give me three things, right that people should be considering when starting up sharing a share shed or library of stuff in their own communities, just so that they can take have some takeaway before we end today.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  31:30

Okay, absolutely. Fine. 10 people 10. No fewer 10 people who can volunteer fortnightly and you'll be set up for success. Really, that's the biggest thing. I think if you've got 10 people, not only do you have enough people to open your library, two or three times a week, three times would be optimal. But you also have 10 people to help with things like contacting manufacturers. Yeah, like Makita. Yeah, or maybe another brand that might respond Stihl, you know, exactly. And looking for funding opportunities. The other thing is, be very mindful of your council waste strategy document, because the Byron Shire Council waste strategy document that we exist under speaks specifically about encouraging and supporting reusable reusables. Right. So, we feel that we're actually delivering for our council to our community. And by being able to demonstrate that to our council, then we qualify for subsidized real estate. And that is fundamentally (that's a good Idea). Yep. So, you know, if the share should have fallen over, because real estate, that's just more evidence that these initiatives really can't afford to pay commercial rent? No. And they should be supported. Because what we're talking about is a fundamental shift in the way people buy and throw things out.

 

Jeremy Melder  33:04

And then it cuts down on all those appliances and go to the tip.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  33:07

Yeah, so we're talking about it's not just waste, it's emissions as well, right. So, if you are looking for ways to engage your council to get support, look at whatever they're talking about around emissions, look at what they're talking about around waste, and reach out to any of the other existing tool libraries as the universe tool library in Sydney, they helped us a lot. When we were getting ready. As I said, Blue Mountains tool library, there's the Brunswick tool library in Melbourne, there's a number of libraries that are up and running, that are generally happy to share their experience and assist.

 

Jeremy Melder  33:43

And in terms of your structure is at like an a not for profit or cooperative. What How do you structure that? I mean, just for Australian listeners, this is I because this gets listened to in other parts of the world. But in Australia, what did you go with? 

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  33:57

look, I'm not sure that at that ours is what I would recommend. But as I said, the library stuff is actually a project of an of a not-for-profit organization. So, the members of our library aren't actually empowered members of the organization. They're just members of the library. So, they are cooperative. If you can't find 10 people who can really commit to help running the show, then you may wish you may need to look at a cooperative, because the cooperative by definition, people understand that it's about what you put in you get out because I do think a lot of our members simply because it's so new. They do treat us like a service,

 

Jeremy Melder  34:44

right?

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  34:45

They, they treat us like a service, but we are not a financially viable service. We do need our members to help us run the library and trying to I suppose back pedal a bit to find ways to engage our current members to get them to help is actually one of our current challenges. It's

 

Jeremy Melder  35:07

a great idea because if you join a membership, maybe need to have a commitment of say, one day, a quarter or something like that, that

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  35:15

we had got that, but we didn't know until we were really up and running, how it would work. Yep. And it's difficult to engage, it's difficult to find things for things for people to do when we haven't, all of our volunteer hours at the moment, go on opening the library twice a week, and really urgent things. So, in terms of even you know, anybody involved with volunteer organizations knows that one of the most important tasks is making sure you've got a list of work for volunteers to do. Otherwise, you have no if you haven't got the list of work for them to do. People say, Oh, I'd like to volunteer, can I volunteer this week to do my four hours or whatever it might be? If you don't even know what you want them to do for four

 

Jeremy Melder  35:59

hours? You're wasting your time? Yeah, you can avail them their time. So

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  36:03

you know, someone who is keen to assist with actually the organizing of volunteers and making sure that you can make the most of them is a task in and of itself. Yeah. And that tends to come. It's not in the top five things of things that you have to do to keep a library operating in. Yeah. And for us, it's been falling off. Yeah. And it's kept sort of the core four or five of us working too hard. And not working smart enough.

 

Jeremy Melder  36:31

Yeah. Look, that's a real big lesson in everyone's businesses really, isn't it? It's about how not to work hard and work smart. Yeah. Sasha, I want to thank you so much for coming on Beaming Green . I love your passion. Oh, with anything to do with sustainability. anyone that knows you will know that you are passionate, and you share this more than anyone else I know, actually. And it's wonderful what you're doing. So, thank you for joining us. And hopefully we can catch up when it's thriving even more in a few months or a year time. Yeah.

 

Sasha Mainsbridge  37:07

Fantastic. Jeremy, thank you so much for having me. My goal for 2021 is to really convert my passion to impact. Awesome, that's what it's about.

 

Jeremy Melder  37:15

Great. Thank you. Thank you for listening to this episode of Beaming Green. Now if you got something out of this episode, we'd love to hear what your biggest takeaway was. There are a number of ways you can do this; you can leave a review on Apple podcast. Or if you have a Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn social media page, you can leave a review there. Don't forget to tag us so we can thank you personally. Lastly, go to Beaming Green.com and subscribe to our newsletter and receive a free how to be green guide. At Beaming Green, we are committed to providing you with a thought provoking and insightful program that inspires you to live your life in accordance with your true nature and purpose. We do this by sharing stories from people that are walking their talk and are committed to living their lives sustainably with their mind, body and soul. So, you can share this with your friends and family and leave the planet in a better place. The music for this podcast was created by Dave Weir