English – Dabo: the easy and immediate app to give away and avoid to create waste
You can listen the whole live interview to Maurizio here (in Italian): Dabo
Choosing a path towards sustainability, a minimalist philosophy or a lighter lifestyle leads us to reflect on how much we buy and accumulate in our homes. When we stop to think about the amount of clothes and in general objects that fill our home, sometimes the desire to get rid of them is triggered. The impulse is to remove from the wardrobe what we do not wear, to eliminate extra equipment, tools, furnishings, furniture or that we do not use, to throw everything away. Inevitably, what we get rid of runs the risk of becoming garbage. Maurizio Faleo (in the cover photo), a young computer scientist from Puglia, after embracing minimalism, became aware of the problem and, with a clear idea in mind, created a simple tool to solve it. We interview him for the Dress Ecode’s podcast because we would like to know and make known his solution.
Hi Maurizio! When I read about your initiative, I immediately thought of the usefulness it can have for our readers and listeners who are careful not to create waste. First of all, can you tell us something about yourself?
“I’m a 25-year-old boy from Foggia. I started developing software and applications when I was 14, at first for fun, then after graduating I decided to make it a job. I moved to Turin to study computer science, I stayed here even after university because I like the city. I am interested in photography, weightlifting and reading books to improve me and my life. These books introduced me to minimalism”.
Yes, in fact, I learned about your project within a group related to minimalism. Dabo was born from the interest in this philosophy. What is it about? Would you like to tell what this project is?
“Dabo is a phone application that I created to allow people to give away what is no longer used in a few steps: by taking a picture of the object you want to donate, writing 3 descriptive words and publishing.
After a short approval phase, the object is visible to all users. So you get in touch with those who live in our area to meet and deliver the object, helping to reduce waste. It is currently available on Android and will soon arrive on iPhone [update: the app is now available on iOS too]”.
Why did you create this app, Maurizio? What inspired you?
“As I approached minimalism, I began to reflect on my relationship with objects. I had so many, the house was full. I found myself in the situation of having to start selecting. I didn’t know how to do it, I gave myself some simple rules. The first step was to take everything I had in the house and objectively analyze if they were things I needed. Sometimes it is difficult. I gave myself the rule: ‘If I have used it at least once in a year, it makes sense to keep it at home. If, on the other hand, I haven’t used it for more than a year, I have to ask myself some questions’. The result was that I discovered a lot of stuff I hadn’t used in a long time: T-shirts that I didn’t really like, a thousand phone charging cables, etc. I asked myself: ‘What do I do with all these things?’.
The concept of garbage has a very fine line. We have no doubt that the empty cookie package is garbage, but when it comes to talking about T-shirts, charging cables and other items we have around the house, a lot is down to personal sensitivity.
The reasons why we no longer wear a t-shirt can be many: we bought it with discounts or we already have ten or they are ruined. I imagined a future in which in a short time and easily it was possible to give away objects that some might consider garbage but in reality they are not.
It’s hard to motivate people to reduce waste. To convince people to give as gifts and not to create waste, I felt the need to give life to Dabo. Its use is immediate and registration is not mandatory”.
What can we do with this app? How does it work?
“Dabo is similar in some ways to Instagram. Once opened, a list of objects appears that can be scrolled. They are what people close to us want to give. You can set filters such as the city and the distance radius that you are willing to travel, for example I can enter Turin and its surroundings within 20 km. For each item the status is indicated: available or instead collection has already been organized. If the object is available, you can contact the owner and decide on the meeting for the exchange, so that it is convenient for both. The donation will take place where and when established. On the other hand, if the collection has already been organized, those who are donating do not receive other messages. I imagined the case, for example, of those who want to give a refrigerator as a gift. He/She could receive a thousand messages, even after having assigned and organized the collection. He/She can pause to stop messaging. These are functions provided in the app with the aim of facilitating the use I mentioned. The idea is to collect feedback from users to understand what really needs to be added”.
Maurizio, I really think that many people will find this app useful! Can you tell us what objects are there? What do you happen to see inside the app? Are there also clothing items?
“Dabo allows you to insert objects of all kinds. At the moment the only excluded categories are medicines and food because there is the problem of conservation. There is an expiry date, but I cannot know for example if the refrigerator where the mozzarella was stored is correctly adjusted. It’s complicated even though it would be cool in the future. The objects present are those we have in the house, for example I have seen clock radios, irons, dishes. The clothing category is very popular: swimwear, shoes, T-shirts, bags, necklaces”.
Very well! It will help those who want to give a second life to clothes and accessories that they currently have in their closet and don’t use much. When was the moment when you decided to move from the idea to the practical realization of Dabo? What was the spark?
“Dabo doesn’t have a precise date of birth, these are things that go round in the mind, one reflects on it. The idea of solving this problem has been in my head for quite some time, probably more than a year. I found myself in the situation: ‘Do I do it? I do not do it?’. If I have to identify a spark, an episode from early January comes to mind. The Christmas period had just ended, I was at the market with my girlfriend shopping for fruit and vegetables and we stopped to eat in a place here in Turin. We were the only customers because people were probably still on vacation during the holidays. The owners then joined us and told us their experience of how the place was born. In the end, I too opened up and told the idea I had in mind. They really helped me a lot in making the decision, because they gave me the perspective of two people who made it. They told everything that was behind the opening of the restaurant. Sometimes one does not think about it, but a restaurant, a pizzeria is the result of a series of actions. They explained their experience to me and it was fundamental because they showed me that it is possible, but you have to start doing certain things. I left the place full of energy! They had given me a positive outlook. So on the first day of work after returning I decided to leave my job to dedicate myself full-time to Dabo. Since February I have concretely taken action”.
We have to thank the managers of this place if we can have this app available today!
“Sometimes I go to thank them!”.
It all started with your interest in minimalism. How did you begin to embrace this philosophy?
“I was a fairly unconscious person. I bought, I tended to fill the house, I had difficulty organizing objects in my home, even in terms of space. I began to reflect, especially when I left Foggia, the city where I was born, to come to Turin to study. I went from a context where, at my parents’ house, I had space all to myself to a room in a house shared with other students.
Slowly, slowly this room became smaller and smaller, the objects increased! The problem became evident when I started moving house. The move was complicated: too much for an off-site student! I had to rent a car and travel a lot. It became clear that there was a problem.
A person living alone, how can he need all that stuff?
I started thinking and getting informed and I discovered minimalism. I started with the ‘use-by-year rule’ and then reading several thoughts on minimalism. I don’t consider myself an extreme minimalist: I don’t enjoy having as little as it is for some. I just like to have what really makes me happy, I don’t pay much attention to the number of items but they must be used. Asking yourself a few questions before letting something into your home has the side effect of having a slightly freer home. It is not the minimalism of ‘having an empty house’.
I like the concept of minimalism for the fact that it leads to think about the purchases that are made, in terms of more conscious consumption. A curiosity, Maurizio: how are the subscriptions going? Which cities are participating?
“Memberships are going very well. The app does not have a division by city, it is available nationwide. City filters are available. In some it is going very well. For example Foggia. A local newspaper, FoggiaToday, talked about Dabo and by word of mouth a pool of users has been created growing more and more. There have already been several exchanges and this makes me proud, because it is a young project! It was launched in August and in a short time an idea that was only in the mind has already helped to make a bit of a difference! I would like the same result to be achieved throughout Italy”.
A great satisfaction to know that it is working and that there are exchanges! We hope it becomes more and more used. Looking to the future, are there any new features you foresee, new functions or features?
“The app is constantly evolving. The main news is that in a couple of months it will be available on the iPhone [update: the app is now available on iOS too]. Also, I noticed some features that need to be improved to offer greater immediacy. For example, the possibility of being able to insert more than one photo of the object. Up to 5 photos can be uploaded in the future. Another change will be the indication of the pickup location, even on a map. For example, the owner may request that it be done at home, because the gift is heavy or he prefers not to move. For me it is important that users say what they think, because reflecting on their feedback comes ideas to develop Dabo“.
In recent years I have been lightening the wardrobe, also thanks to the minimalist philosophy, and as soon as it is available on the iPhone I will count on Dabo [update: we have downloaded the app!]. Thanks Maurizio for telling us about this very useful app, we will follow its evolution!
Link to Dabo for Android: Dabo
Link to Dabo for iOS (iPhone): Dabo
Photo: Maurizio Faleo