Public shared resources

Circular economy is closely related to sharing economy which refers to the sharing of goods or other resources by multiple people. Availability of shared resources allow people to avoid consumption and use the existing and idle resources more efficiently. The transition to the sharing economy is also a cultural transition from owning into sharing, loaning, and renting.

The sharing economy indicators monitor the availability of public shared resources in different municipalities. More specifically, the indicators focus on two types of public resources and goods: library items and city bicycles. These resources are connected to people’s everyday lives and practices such as mobility or opportunities to practice certain hobbies. The availability of the shared resources is monitored for two municipalities in each of the Circwaste key project regions.

The data of library items was collected directly from the public libraries. Data on city bicycles, in turn, was collected from the municipalities or from the operator managing the bicycle-sharing scheme and from some other online resources.

The indicator earlier included the monitoring of available joint-use school spaces. Data collection has since turned out to be too challenging to continue.

Library items


Public libraries can basically be regarded as sharing economy pioneers. Besides books, magazines, CDs and DVDs, libraries have expanded their selection and nowadays they often loan out also other types of items, such tools and devices, equipment for hobbies or musical instruments.

All the case public libraries offered library items other than books. The absolute number of items is larger in the bigger cities (Jyväskylä, Pori, Joensuu, Turku, and Lappeenranta), where there are also more public library services available. However, the municipalities with the lowest number of citizens (Nurmes and Imatra) have the proportionally highest number of items per citizens, though from 2016 onwards until 2020 these numbers have evened out. The number of library items has raised steadily in the case municipalities during the past five years.

The items most commonly loaned out are equipment for hobbies, including board and yard games, sports equipment, and musical instruments. Household appliances are also available in some of the libraries. Some libraries loan out bicycles and kick scooters. According to the library employees, the most popular product groups are board games, card games, outdoor games, instruments, library bags, computer accessories, subscription/season tickets, and exercise equipment.

Hobby equipment such as games, sports equipment or musical instruments can be borrowed from most libraries. © SYKE

Bicycle sharing


Out of the ten case municipalities, only Turku has comprehensive city bike system, and Joensuu, Lappeenranta, Imatra, and Pori have a light city bike system (update at the end of 2021). In absolute numbers Turku, which is the biggest city in the comparison, has also the biggest number of bikes (300 bikes). Proportionally, however, Imatra which is the smallest of the cities, had the highest number of bikes per 1.000 citizens in 2019, and in 2021 Turku and Lappeenranta did.

More information

  • Senior Research Scientist Kati Pitkänen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE,
  • Researcher Tiina Karppinen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE,
Published 2020-11-30 at 10:38, updated 2024-06-04 at 13:14
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