Earth Day: His Initiative Channels Pre-Loved Items To Low Income Groups
STORY: Ng Kai
21 April 2022
The theme for Earth Day 2022 is to "Invest In Our Planet" - and one way we can do so is to donate our pre-loved items so that they can be reused. Making this process sibei digital and convenient for us is one NTU Business graduate, Jonathan How, who was also one of 10 recipients of the National Environment Agency's EcoFriends Award last year.
Seeing the huge waste generated (not only in university but also during his national service stint as a security trooper), Jonathan How created the "Singapore Freebies by Sharetings" Telegram Group in his freshman year in 2018.
After acquiring the necessary funding from the National Environment Agency and South West Community Development Council, he then launched the app Sharetings - a colloquial portmanteau of "share" and "things" - in August 2020.
To commemorate Earth Day, we chat with the 26-year-old about this inspiring iniative and what "investing in our planet" means to him.
What triggered or inspired you to (finally) do something for the environment?
It all started when I realised that there was a lack of digital initiatives for people or residents to share/give away their pre-loved items. These useful items would be discarded at HDB void decks, and many would have the perception that these items were faulty or no longer working.
However, based on what I observed around my neighbourhood, most of the items are still functional and some are still very new. Hence, I waited to create a peer-to-peer digital platform that would allow residents to share instead of throwing away.
What achievements are you proudest of so far?
I think having over 120k items being shared on the platforms is something that I am very proud of. This is despite the limited resources that I have. The community grew organically and we are experiencing a healthy number of daily active users on our Telegram group.
In fact, some of my friends and family use the platform to get items they need for their day-to-day life. Some also thank me for helping them to save money as they can get items they want for free.
The app is undergoing a revamp currently. What exciting new features can we look forward to?
Besides sharing, there will be a fashion-swap feature where we hope to tackle textile waste and encourage users to swap more and buy less. Besides swapping, there will also be a community feed where users can come together to discuss anything.
Waseh! You have over 10k subscribers on the Telegram group - is this a one-man operation?
Yes, I am a one-man army. However, we have a tech guy that will be helping out next month. For everything that is non-tech, I manage it by myself.
Any chao kuan users?
People do abuse the platform to sell some things instead of giving them. Many of them charge postage fees at a higher rate than what it is supposed to be.
The theme for Earth Day this year is “Invest In Our Planet”. How does that resonate with you and what you’re doing with Sharetings?
With Sharetings, we aspire to accelerate waste reduction through the use of technology. We hope to be the go-to eco-platform and to compete effectively with our biggest rival - the landfill.
Small actions lead to big changes, and we hope that through the different utility features that Sharetings provides, they will allow individuals from all walks of life to practice eco-friendly actions and to "invest in our planet" conveniently.
If you're interested in donating pre-loved items on Sharetings, click here for a list of FAQs about what you can and cannot list on the group - and please ah, no listing of pets.