The sharing economy

Read about the sharing economy to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Reading text

If we look around us at the things we have purchased at some point in our lives, we would no doubt notice that not everything we own is being put to good use: the thick woollen coat which we thought looked trendy despite the fact that we live in a tropical country, the smartphone that got put away when we bought ourselves the newest model, the car that only gets used at the weekends, or even the guest room in our house that somehow got turned into a storeroom.

Those underutilised items may seem useless to some, but could be an asset to others. With the advent of the internet, online communities have figured out a way to generate profit from the sharing of those underused assets. Using websites and social media groups that facilitate the buying and selling of second-hand goods, it is now easier than ever for peer-to-peer sharing activities to take place. And this is known as the sharing economy.

These democratised online platforms are providing a chance for people to make a quick buck or two. To give an example, busy parents previously might not have bothered with setting up a stall at the local market or car boot sale to sell their children's old equipment, but with online marketplaces, parents are now able to sell on those hardly worn baby clothes that their children have outgrown and the expensive pushchairs and baby equipment they have invested in, so as to put some cash back into their pockets.

Businesses have also caught on to the profitability of the sharing economy and are seeking to gain from making use of those underutilised resources. A business model that has rapidly risen in popularity sees companies providing an online platform that puts customers in contact with those who can provide a particular product or service. Companies like Airbnb act as a middleman for people to cash in on their unused rooms and houses and let them out as lucrative accommodation. Another example is Uber, which encourages people to use their own personal cars as taxis to make some extra cash in their free time.

This move towards a sharing economy is not without criticisms. Unlike businesses, unregulated individuals do not have to follow certain regulations and this can lead to poorer and inconsistent quality of goods and services and a higher risk of fraud. Nevertheless, in the consumerist society we live in today, the increased opportunities to sell on our unwanted and underused goods can lead to a lesser impact on our environment.

Do you need to improve your English reading skills?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English reading skills with our online courses.


Worksheet100.22 KB

Language level

B2 English level (upper intermediate)

Submitted by BilelJelassi on Wed, 14/09/2022 - 14:03


I've always given my second handed clothes and old stuff to other people for free.
Actually, I'd rather buy new things than unused goods because maybe we don't have the culture of sharing economy yet or may some people still think that these unwanted goods sold from others might have less quality than they expected so that will be consider useless for them.

Submitted by ze-lal on Sun, 14/08/2022 - 06:14


I haven't had many experiences of sharing economy. I have bought second hands clothes a lot, but I've never sold my unwanted or unused item. I just give them to people who want them without money.

Submitted by olhamats on Wed, 20/07/2022 - 18:45


I like the article and I think it is a good initiative.
But I wanted to add one drawback. It is good opportunity for one person to sell underutilised things and earn money. But sometimes buyers pay for something that they don't need just because of small price.
So my advice is to be aware about things that we buy, doesn't matter it`s new thing or second hand.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Mon, 27/12/2021 - 16:49


Yes I participated in the sharing economy.

I never participated in the sharing economy but I would like. This is a good thing because some people buy secon hand things for good price from people who this items is useless for them. Consequently seller receives money and customer takes items for good price. This is a excelent idea.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Fri, 22/10/2021 - 11:11


This is a good initiative. I appreciate it. But I don't participate sharing economy yet.

Submitted by Andrea Valencia on Tue, 18/05/2021 - 18:33

I do not participate in the sharing economy yet.

Submitted by mohamad90 on Mon, 22/02/2021 - 16:26

Yes. Using these applications was a good experiment for me. It's easy, fast and cheap.

Submitted by Alek89 on Tue, 09/02/2021 - 11:19

Definitely yes. In my opinion, this is a very good way to make a quick buck to those people whose economy are a little weak. And, of couse, as the text said this is quite good for our environment because there's so many times when we throw away something underutilised when this thing's not even broken. Improving this type of economy, we can give a "second life" to all this things that we don't want in our houses anymore.

Submitted by Ehsan on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 06:03

yep, sure. I use related platforms and sites for buying and selling.

Submitted by semoha on Fri, 18/12/2020 - 07:21

Hello, I would like to buy wastewater and treat it to usable water and sell it.

Submitted by reem mohd on Tue, 08/12/2020 - 16:22

I personally don't participate in the sharing economy, but I think it would be a good investment if I became part of it :)
Profile picture for user danisep

Submitted by danisep on Fri, 04/12/2020 - 23:47

Yes, I have sold some stuffs on internet that I didn't need. and sometimes I take advantage to discount days and buy things to resell in a better price mostly technology items if I hesitate to sell one so I just keep it.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Fri, 13/11/2020 - 18:30

I participate in the sharing economy, but to a lesser degree, that is I myself restrict to giving my underused clothes to my favourite charity.
Profile picture for user Hennadii

Submitted by Hennadii on Wed, 21/10/2020 - 10:07

Oh, yeah! I'm an active member of the sharing economy. I buy a lot of things for my kids on some local sites. It's quite useful when you have two fast-growing kids and can buy things for less money. All these goods, what buy for them, are used per a couple of months and quickly become too small for my sons. So we resell them or just give them to someone else. Recently we sold some clothes that weren't used at all. Just bought them in advance but they were too big when I bought them and became too small when their time came. Two years ago we finished the renovation in our flat and some items (quite good, actually) became unneeded - we sold them via the Internet. Our buyers were pleased to buy those things at a low price and we were happy to get rid of them and earn a little money. So, guys, the sharing economy is great - fewer spendings, extra money, and, of course, less garbage!

Submitted by Roblox on Fri, 11/09/2020 - 15:28

I do participate. When I was studying for my master's degree I don't have quite enough money to buy my baby girl's a nice jacket for winter. Attend to school and taking care of her were enough to take away my time. Salvation Army store is one of the stores in the United States that sells used goods. That helps people a lot to maintain their daily basis.
Profile picture for user Cheick Sadibou

Submitted by Cheick Sadibou on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 15:15

Yes, i do it via Facebook when i need to make a quick buck.

Submitted by Aakash Jain on Fri, 19/06/2020 - 03:17

Well, I've never used an online platform for this. I simply give extra stuff which I have to my housemaid or some other needy people if they need it. Though it is correct that this concept will help to reduce environmental waste generated, but at the same time using online platform for this is time consuming as well. Maybe what you want to sell may not be what the other person needs or they may not be satisfied with the product. By the time you find a buyer, the condition of that product may have become even worse. So it's better that we give underused items to those who are more close to us so that they can use it before the condition of the item detoriates further.

Submitted by jason2295 on Wed, 17/06/2020 - 17:47

Yes, I do. When I don't want to use something that I bought once thinking it could be useful for me but after a short time I realized it was unnecessary I usually go online to one of these sites can help me to sell it and try to make back some money.

Submitted by Wesley54 on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 00:41

Unfortunately I haven't been able to participate in a sharing economy model, since I usually keep several stuff in my room. However, when I've got the enough time to tidy my bedroom, I get rid of those items which I use no more through white sacks; so that the people who might need them are able to get them.

Submitted by fidaasiddig on Fri, 20/03/2020 - 22:15

I really want know one of those sites ,it would be great to one of those on my country
Profile picture for user Smiley1

Submitted by Smiley1 on Tue, 28/01/2020 - 14:15

" the consumerist society we live in today" = Yes, I agree and feel meaningless or empty. I don't want to be a slave of the society!
Profile picture for user AnastasiyaRadi

Submitted by AnastasiyaRadi on Tue, 28/01/2020 - 10:45

in my opinion, sharing economy is the best thing ever! We consume too much.

Submitted by kanatian on Wed, 22/01/2020 - 13:08

I've never participated in the sharing economy, until I had to live away from home. It seemed unnecessary buying new things and brand new furniture when I'm only staying there for few months and that's when I took the opportunity to use the sharing economy method and contact people in websites like craigslist. I was informed that there may be some concerns buying beds and such since it might be defective or I may get fooled by some of the sellers. But still, it is a good way to save a lot of money and very beneficial to the environment. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle.

Submitted by Fikymaulana on Sun, 12/01/2020 - 17:05

In my opinion the sharing economy is a great idea. I have sold my old shoes on the market place. And when I was having two type of bicycle such as MTB and touring bicycle. Eventualy, I sold the MTB because I often used the touring bicycle. However, we should't sell all of unused equipment or old stuff and get some cash. Sometimes, I gave my old stuff and unused equipment for charity event. And I feel its make me happier than earning money.
Profile picture for user Steve Zarv

Submitted by Steve Zarv on Sat, 21/12/2019 - 05:41

As far as the concept of sharing economy goes, I'm afraid I would be participating in this trend as a consumer rather than as a seller granted I've always been picky with what I want to own and what I would do with it whenever it doesn't work any longer, which usually ends up being recycled or on the rubbish. Nevertheless, I openly embrace the idea of making profits through the several assets that people from second-hand day-to-day goods and services.

Submitted by Wahiba on Mon, 30/09/2019 - 14:53

Sharing economy is interesting it allows at many people to get ride off unused things and specially to some others people to have a lot of items without braking the bank. personally I prefer give my unused items for free to all they need them. 10years a go when I moved to a new house so before I left the old one I gave my fournitures to persons around me.

Submitted by juanfra366 on Wed, 13/03/2019 - 19:04

Yes, I do. I sold some motorcycle boots that I didn't use.

Submitted by steffyller on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 03:51

No, but i have some things that i would like to selling.
Profile picture for user Samer.Zydia

Submitted by Samer.Zydia on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 14:18

I really like the article