Carsharing and waste reduction

I've mentioned this before a couple of times before, but my partner and I do not have a car. We live in a neighbourhood that is a 30 minute walk to downtown. We walk or occasionally take transit to work; same goes for weekly produce shopping trips. On occasion though, we want to be able to buy more than we can carry in our arms or on our backs. At those times, we turn to Calgary Carshare.

Every month or so, maybe more or less depending on our supplies, we pick up a carshare car and run errands. We buy massive amounts of kitty litter, toilet paper, bulk goods, and non-perishables from Superstore. We stock up on cat food. We take bottles to the recycling depot. We go to the hardware store and pick up what we need around the house. Sometimes, we even go for lunch somewhere we've been meaning to try out.

How does this help us eliminate waste?
  • All of our trips are planned, with a list of where we need to go and why. Our route is planned in order so we know where we're going next, so we don't run back and forth across town. Instead of driving every night to the NE to pick something up, we drive there once, do everything we need to do, and then drive back. So, we have less wasted gas.
  • We go on big grocery shopping trips less often, so there is less opportunity to buy impulse purchases. Basically, I think fewer shopping trips in general means better planning and less purchasing of things we don't need. This leads to less food waste and generally less unnecessary consumerism. Less, less, less!
  • When we decide we want something, we have to plan to go get it. That means we've slept on it for at least a few nights before we go out for it. Another reason this leads to less impulse purchasing.
  • We don't own a car! So that's one car that's not manufactured and maintained just for us. The more people that use the Calgary Carshare cars, the more efficient the maintenance and care of those cars is.
There is another carsharing option in Calgary now, that just started up in the last few months. I thought I would briefly touch on them, although I am not a member and don't plan to be. They have a very different rental model than Calgary Carshare and they certainly have a lot of cars. The reason I choose to stay with Calgary Carshare? Because they are a non-profit cooperative and they have earned my loyalty with the care they have showed me over the years. Car2Go is a subsidiary of Daimler AG and is for-profit. They have operations in Europe and North America and are bound to expand and contract as they see fit. Given the choice, and since I have been a member of Calgary Carshare since 2007, I am going to stick to the local group with ties to the community. Also, Calgary Carshare gives me access to a van, and that is super useful. Car2Go is exclusively Smart Cars.

Would I discourage you from joining Car2Go? No, probably not. I would always advocate for carsharing over personal car ownership. But hey, give Calgary Carshare a chance. They'll be good to you!

Do you use a carshare option? Which one do you use and why?


  1. Hey Heather,

    I love this post about carsharing. I don't have a car either and am a member of Car2Go, thought I would prefer using Calgary Carshare. I prefer CATCO for the same reasons you do - I just live far enough out of the downtown that the 6 locations are totally inconvenient for me, making it a waste of money to pay the monthly fee. Car2Go is pretty good and I've used it a few times when I've been in a bind, but usually for work because I'm in one place downtown and need to be elsewhere downtown really fast, ha ha.

    Love your blog though, I'll definitely have to keep following!

    1. Hi Lauren, yeah, it definitely makes sense to join a car share that you can actually use, and Car2Go has lots and lots of cars. It's awesome that more people are starting to see carsharing as an option that works for them.


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