A new app that offers users the opportunity to receive free second hand items for children and babies is being trialled in Hackney, due to “its ever evolving micro culture and positive outlook on sustainability”.
Young Planet was launched in Hackney last week, and has a zero waste approach to childhood items that are no longer needed. The online toy-sharing platform provides a quick and simple way of trading anything from old toys, to cots and clothing for free.
Jason and Emma Ash, the founders of Young Planet, who have three sons, moved around globally as a family and soon found that they had accumulated a house full of unused items that their children had outgrown. This sparked an idea and lead to the development of the Young Planet app.
Jason Ash, Co-founder of Young Planet, said: “This is a wider societal issue; the average 10-year old reportedly has 238 toys*, and yet uses just 12 daily. The burden isn’t just on the planet, but financially on parents too, with children aged 0-4 costing on average £14,729 per year.”
“We got inventive and designed a way to enable families to put ‘unused and outgrown kids’ items to good use and live sustainably. We created a circular and cashless model, where parents can get rid of the items they don’t want and source more from others and best of all, it doesn’t cost a penny!”
The non-profit organisation aims to avoid old toys being sent to landfills, reducing ‘wastefulness’, as well as helping with the costs that come with being a parent.
Ash added: “This Christmas, we’re hoping for a different kind of miracle, where mums and dads can escape the financial burden and waste burden that comes with the gifting season. Every kid should be able to get their dream toy, and every parent should feel like a hero in more ways than one giving it to them.”
Little Village Camden, a charity that aims to help struggling families across London by donating basic items and offering emotional support in pop-up sessions, told EastLondonLines: “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else. There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere. When you put the whole picture together, recycling is the right thing to do.”
With over 50,000 people having already downloaded the app, the platform has developed a group of ‘super users’, who have been able to maintain financial security through the products available on the app, as well as helping the environment.
One super user said: “The best thing is making connections with other parents and being able to receive much needed stuff for free. In time I’ll love being able to make space by passing things on.”
The founders are currently working on a crowdfunding page, that will launch later this month on CrowdCube, which they hope will allow the platform to expand across London, and support the next phase of development.
Young Planet has also gained recognition in its nomination as a finalist at the UK App Awards for ‘Children’s App of the Year’, and as finalists for the ‘Best Mobile App’ category at the Digital Entrepreneur Awards 2019.
Ash added: “Our hope for the future is that YoungPlanet can be the start of a sharing movement amongst families and friends across London, the UK and eventually the world. Consumerism is a natural characteristic for all people, young and old. It’s inherent in us to always want new things, but there’s smarter ways of fulfilling this which doesn’t contribute to landfills. Our hope is to re purpose the millions of toys, clothes and other children’s’ stuff that get made and have a short life-span. One toddler’s buggy should be seen as another baby’s first adventures.”