This month marks one year since we launched a unique project aimed at expanding the lifespan of lanyards. We sell a lot of lanyards at Fairware—those fabric necklaces that are handed out at conventions or conferences, usually bearing the wearer’s name at the bottom. They circulate all day and are usually tossed in the trash (or the junk drawer) at night.
We thought it would be a cool concept to lend out lanyards with both the purpose of reducing the amount being produced and discarded, and to document the events they have traveled to and the people that have worn them. This idea inspired the Lanyard Library.
It works like a lending library: we send out lanyards to be used for an event or conference and they are returned to us along with snapshots of the lanyards in use. Our lanyards are made from recycled plastic bottles by a supplier in Ontario that meets Fairware’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
Event organizers that use our lanyards not only save money and get to promote their event on our website, but they also demonstrate to delegates a commitment to sustainability.
Our lanyards have made their way to many fantastic events over the past few years—all documented on our website. From the Power the Vision event supporting Vision Vancouver and Gregor Robertson’s mayoral candidacy, to the Social Change Institute’s conference aimed at personal betterment in the midst of change, to the LOCO event hosted by Fairware at our Vancouver office. It’s great to see how our lanyards have connected us to so many great events and people. The wonderful reception of our concept reminds all of us that even small changes towards reducing your environmental footprint can have a big impact.
Lending libraries have historically been associated with books, but this trend towards borrowing other items is starting to take off. In Vancouver alone—where our office is located—there are a number of inspiring lending libraries that run with this concept. The Tool Library is a cooperative tool lending library that gives members access to a wide selection of tools for gardening, home repair, and bicycle maintenance. The Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre has a lending library which lends out equipment and tools for caregivers starting their own businesses.
We are hoping that more people will begin to rely on these lending libraries for their needs. It’s a great way to save money and cut back on the overproduction of products that are too often only used once.
As the 2012 event season heats up, we are excited to see our Lanyard Library grow. We are excited to see the journey our lanyards take this year!
The facts on borrowing:
- Event coordinators are responsible for shipping and returning at least 60% of the lanyards (or they’re charged $0.50 a unit).
- We take returned lanyards and wash and air dry them for the next user.
- We expect to get a photo of the event (with the lanyards in action).