This year, many conscientious consumers are exploring an out of the box (literally) alternative to black Friday madness – one that is made possible by the rise of the sharing economy. Yerdle, which launches today, is the newest peer-to-peer marketplace in a growing online industry many refer to as collaborative consumption. The best part? Everything’s free.

Yerdle, San Francisco, Adam Werbach, sharing economy, collaborative consumption, Black Friday, holidays, swapping

There’s a great meme going around about our country’s post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. It says “Black Friday: Because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” Our national habit of camping out in front of big box retailers, fighting our neighbors for the last Tickle Me Elmo or flat screen TV is pathetic and completely antithetical to the true spirit of the holidays. That’s why millions are experimenting with an alternative that’s more meaningful than simply shopping online or buying ec0-friendly goods. This year, people are saying no to buying altogether, and sharing, swapping, trading things they already have instead.

Co-founded by Adam Werbach, former President of the Sierra Club and Founder of Saatchi & Saatchi S, Andy Ruben, former Chief Sustainability Officer and head of Global Strategy at Walmart, and and Carl Tashian from the founding team of Zipcar, yerdle is an online community and sharing marketplace. The new site already offers 10,000 items, from clothing and music to gadgets and food, that have been given by regular people who are tired of being forced to buy new things when so much is going to waste all around us. Yerdle’s mission is to reduce 20 percent of the things people buy through sharing, collectively protecting precious ecological resources.

Yerdle, San Francisco, Adam Werbach, sharing economy, collaborative consumption, Black Friday, holidays, swapping

“We built yerdle to create a new way of getting the things you need that doesn’t create more waste,” said Co-founder Adam Werbach. “If you need a tent, a circular saw, kids soccer cleats, or thousands of other items that you only use sporadically, try sharing through yerdle. Saving money doesn’t suck. The holidays should be about spending time with the people you love and giving them gifts,” said Werbach. “For anyone who is sick of the crowds and the over-packaging and the cheap plastic toys, we’re hoping to provide an authentic way to celebrate the season.”

Yerdle’s platform, including a website built on Facebook’s social graph, an iPhone app and a series of community events, allows friends and even strangers to safely conduct sharing transactions. Find yourself in need of something? Before rushing out to the store, browse yerdle’s easy to navigate categories to see if anyone has offered it up. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, the service makes it easy to list a request, instantly tapping into the closets and garages of thousands of people who live near you. If someone’s got what you’re looking for, they answer your query, and voila! Sharing to the rescue.

Although yerdle has launched with a focus on the San Francisco area, you don’t have to live in California to sign up. On November 23, the online platform and mobile app opens up to sharers across the country. Why not be the first to tell your friends about this awesome, completely free alternative to the Black Friday madness? Sign up and invite your loved ones here.

+ Yerdle