Library of Things – reducing waste by borrowing rather than buying


Library of things

Company type

non for profit


Goods consumption

Business model

Encourage sufficiency

Circular principle

Pursue efficient use of energy, materials and water


Each year, 170 million new electrical items are purchased in the UK, yet less than a third are recycled. Borrowing items we use infrequently is a simple way to reduce the amount of items that end up in landfill.



Library of Things is any collection of objects loaned at no charge, and any organization that practices such loaning. Objects often include kitchen appliances, tools, gardening equipment and seeds, electronics, toys and games, art, science kits, craft supplies, musical instruments, and recreational equipment. Especially appropriate are objects that are useful occasionally but cumbersome to store, such as specialized cookware or niche technology items. Collections vary widely, but go far beyond the books, journals, and media that have been the primary focus of traditional libraries.


Description of business model

Value proposition:Officially launched in 2016, Library of Things aims to transform our broken consumer economy by offering people a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative to buying occasional use household items.
Borrowing is more affordable and convenient, more socially rewarding, and kinder to the planet.

Value creation and delivery: Localised accessibility to shared tools, materials, and equipment which can benefit and strengthen sustainable/circular community values. Promotes circularity through use of existing materials, slowing down the consumption of non-renewable raw materials by utilising existing ones.

Value capture: The library captures economic value from membership and borrowing fees
Societal value: waste is saved from landfill by borrowing instead of buying.


More info

Library of things

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