Sometimes, you need a thing, but you don’t need it for long… this is where Renting comes in, and yet again, we already do it all the time and have done forever. Been to a library and borrowed a book? Or hired a fancy dress costume? Or a wedding suit? That’s all renting. And if you’ve stayed in a hotel, hostel or Airbnb, you have rented too. Basically, Renting is our historical go-to when we only need an item for a short amount of time.
But what we can Rent has changed a huge amount over the last decade. In many major cities you can now sign up to a public bike hire scheme, or rent an electric scooter for just an hour, directly on the street itself and often from your smartphone. You can join a Library of Things, and Rent a tent to use for a weekend, or a hedge trimmer, or a snowboard. High priced items you don’t use for long are perfect candidates for Renting.
Renting something means access, not ownership.
But we are also thinking even wider than short use, high ticket items. What about Renting a pair of jeans? This is what MUD Jeans do – allowing organic denim garments to be leased instead of owned. At the end of the leasing, you have the option to return the item for reselling or reprocessing – which means that the valuable materials are kept in the loop rather than lost.
So what are the benefits of Renting?
- cost – you don’t need to own something outright to be able to use it.
- space – if you don’t own it, you don’t need to store it.
- upkeep – someone else will be responsible for keeping the item in working order, and repairing it.
- try before you buy – you might hate camping. Rent that tent just in case.
- speed – using that high-spec camera for a day is a lot cheaper (and quicker) than saving up to buy it yourself.
- ownership – materials remain the responsibility of a group/brand/company so don’t get ‘lost’ and can be effectively kept in the loop of circularity.