Beyond Waste: Community Solutions to Managing Our Resources

In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving has been referred to as Black Friday for decades. It was called Black Friday by police in 1950s Philadelphia because of the chaos caused by the huge crowds that turned out to shop after Thanksgiving. In 1961, Philadelphia retailers tried to give Black Friday a positive spin as a big shopping opportunity. Today, Black Friday is synonymous with highly-publicized sales and frenzied consumption in U.S. and beyond.

Over the last three years, Shareable has been working with Greenpeace and other partners to give Black Friday yet another meaning. Rather than focusing on shopping and spending, the annual MAKE SMTHNG Week promotes the idea of creating and reusing. As reporter Casey O’Brien writes, “The spirit of MAKE SMTHNG can apply to all sorts of activities: whether it is cooking food instead of buying, using food scraps to make a broth, upcycling clothing or other materials, or reusing pieces of broken items to make new DIYs, creativity can play a huge part in sustainability.”

MAKE SMTHNG Week has quickly grown to an international initiative with hundreds of events, and thousands of participants. “We’ve seen that the shared experience of making things with others can lead to lasting change in both the lifestyle choices of participants and in the way that they engage with their communities,” says Shareable’s Tom Llewellyn. “We’re proud to be collaborating with Greenpeace and other partners to support communities to host events where people can opt-in to an alternative way of celebrating the holidays while forging new relationships and behaviors that will last throughout the year.”

Along with our work promoting and hosting MAKE SMTHNG Week events, this year, we published an editorial series outlining ways individuals, organizations and communities are reducing waste and managing resources around the world. Arvind Dilawar brought us the story of how Bonnie Linden set up a community cupboard in her California neighborhood; Paige Wolf explained how to start a reusable party pack; and Mirella Ferraz told us about the Fashion Detox challenge and the Right to Repair movement. We featured the Eunpyeong Sharing Center in Seoul, South Korea along with other initiatives such as Oakland’s O2AA maker village, the Japan-based MyMizu app, and Precious Plastic’s DIY recycling module. Finally, writer Marina Kelava described how the small Crostian island of Zlarin is getting rid of single-use plastics; and Nithin Coca highlighted how Japan’s Seikatsu Club Cooperative is challenging consumerism. In fact, Seikatsu Club may be the only retailer with anti-consumerist slogan — Stop Shopping.

We know this is a small sample of such initiatives, but they show how ordinary people can come together to reduce waste, manage resources, and make their lives better. Please drop us a line at if you know of other resource management initiatives. We’d love your help as we continue our coverage of the topic into 2020 and beyond.

Download "Beyond Waste: Community Solutions to Managing Our Resources”

The ebook "Beyond Waste: Community Solutions to Managing Our Resources" features our editorial series outlining ways individuals, organizations and communities are reducing waste around the world.

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Courtney Pankrat


Courtney Pankrat |

Courtney is the editorial and communications manager at Shareable. She also works as a freelance writer and is currently based out of Denver, Colorado. Her work has appeared in Shareable,