Yes, you can buy eco-products, or even better, buy used to go green. But for the clutterphobic and/or teensy apartment dwellers like me, borrowing’s the best deal for things you only need one time or occasionally. Plus, borrowing’s cheaper than buying — and sometimes even free! Here are some services to get you started.
Books / Textbooks: My local LEED-certified library with free wifi’s one of my best friends, but I wish I’d known about Chegg.com when I was a student. Chegg.com lets you borrow textbooks, a service that’ll cost you 65% - 85% less than buying new. And since Chegg.com provides free return shipping, you won’t have to worry about trying to resell textbooks at the end of the semester. Plus, student environmentalists’ll be happy to know Chegg.com plants a tree for every textbook rented, bought or sold!
DVDs: Most of you are already Netflix and/or Blockbuster subscribers. I prefer Netflix despite the fact that their ever-present popup ads annoy me to no end, since Blockbuster censors some movies without any warning on the cover. This practice totally screwed me over when I was taking a feminist film class, because the scenes under discussion from Romance were edited out from the Blockbuster DVD I rented!
Toys: I hear kids tire of toys quickly — so why not borrow toys you can return when the kid gets bored? Rent-A-Toy lets you do just that — and even has an eco-toy section! (via Treehugger) Toys are inspected and sanitized for safety. Plans start at $24.99 a month and include free delivery and returns, just like Netflix.
Tools: Neighborrow lets you borrow or lend tools and supplies to and from neighbors. Unfortunately, the site hasn’t attracted enough followers to make it v. useful yet — and I don’t have any tools to lend…. Home Depot’s Tool Rental generally has a more readily available selection; I rented a steam cleaner from there recently.
Beyond these borrowing opportunities, there are lots of exchange programs that let you trade what you have for what you want. Of course, those programs don’t let you return the stuff, though you can always try to resell them again.
Bottom image: Courtesy rentatoy.com