With zero-waste initiatives on the rise, a team of activists and volunteers from Poznań, Poland, decided to take the idea of sharing economy to the next level and create Po-Dzielnia, the first freeshop and sharing economy center in the country and one of the first in Europe.
In a world where the market (and, quite literally, the planet) is being flooded with cheaper and cheaper consumer goods, we decided to go one step further and create a place where everything is free. Knowing that the true environmental and social cost of our modern lifestyle is much higher than what’s on the price tag, we wanted to provide an alternative to growing consumerism and to raise awareness about our impact on the planet and other people’s lives.
If you’re new to the idea, a freeshop is basically a place where you can bring preloved goods such as clothes, accessories, household items, books or home décor and take whatever is in stock at the moment that was left there by others like you. The items left at our shop have to be clean and in good, usable condition. In addition, Po-Dzielnia[pronounced *paw-gel-nya*] also functions as a sharing economy center, organizing meetings and debates on zero waste philosophy and promoting upcycling through workshops and repair cafés.
Open Monday to Friday, Po-Dzielniais run by a team of nearly two dozen volunteers and five activists (the so-called Founding Mothers), in cooperation with the Pro Terra Foundation that operates from its back office.
Our mission is not only to extend the lifecycle of consumer goods and help those in need, but also to teach people to use what they already have instead of buying everything brand-new. Although the term itself has been devalued due to large-scale commercial projects, such as Airbnb or Uber, we still believe that in its true sense, the sharing economy is the only real and attainable alternative to consumerism and that sharing IS caring: about our planet, the environment, our resources, and future generations.
The idea for Po-Dzielniahatch in the minds of its creators – the team behind Poznań Giveboxes – for a long time and started to take shape in the spring of 2018, when they won a grant from the City of Poznań thanks to which they were able to lease a city-owned site for free. With the help of dozens of volunteers, including architects and carpenters, the shop then underwent some remodeling to better fit its purpose. Ever since its grand opening on October 13, 2018, Po-Dzielniahas attracted a lot of attention and visitors.
The project would not have been possible without the support of various public institutions, non-government organizations and private donors, including the City of Poznań, the Pro Terra Foundation, Centrum PISOP, Lisner, Aquanet S.A., CK Zamek, and many others.
Thanks for translation Karolina Łebek @guerrilla.translations