Any amount of shopping you do can increase your household waste without you even knowing it. Because of that, many are looking for alternatives to outright ownership that help reduce their waste contribution. Some common tactics include upcycling and reusing old items, but there’s another strategy on the move: borrowing.
When it comes to sustainable ownership, borrowing is king. In this article, we’ll go over why borrowing is one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do and how you can start properly borrowing and lending belongings.
How Is Borrowing Environmentally Friendly?
There are a few obvious and not so obvious reasons why borrowing can help your effort to reduce your carbon footprint.
Many of us are tempted to buy things we likely won’t use enough to warrant ownership. Sure, it’s convenient to have a power drill in your garage, but how often are you going to use it? Unless you’re rehanging your shelves every night, it’s probably not very often. Borrowing a friend’s drill instead is both more economical and sustainable than buying the product.
Cuts Down on Waste
Many cities, like New York, are struggling to manage all the excess waste. Borrowing and lending items can help you cut down on that waste and give new life to products that rarely get used by their owners.
Consumerism fuels filling landfills and soaring carbon emissions. Borrowing can be a remedy for consumerism, allowing people to use products when they need them but never actually buy the product.
How to Borrow
It can be a little awkward to ask to borrow things from friends and family, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Here are some tips to help you know how to borrow politely and respectfully:
- Borrow locally: It’s easiest to borrow items locally, generally from friends and family in the area. That way, you can easily return items at a moment’s notice and pick them back up when you need them.
- Return the item as it was: Nothing’s worse than lending out a book and having it come back mangled and stained. So when you borrow an item, try to return it as clean and functional as it was before you got it. If you manage this, your friend will be a lot more willing to keep lending items to you.
- Establish timeline expectations: When does your friend need their stuff back? Establish that at the beginning so there are no awkward follow-ups about when they’ll get it back.
How to Lend
Of course, borrowing doesn’t work unless people have things to lend. It would be hypocritical to always expect to borrow things but never be willing to offer your own things. But you also shouldn’t loan your most expensive or prized suggestions to people you don’t know.
Here are some tips to ensure you can loan your items responsibly:
- Don’t lend items you regularly use: Unless your friend just needs it for an evening, it’s best not to lend out your belongings if you use them once a week.
- Ask for your item directly: If your friend has held onto your belongings for a while and you’d like them back, don’t beat around the bush. Ask them if they still have your item and tell them you want it back.
- Keep a list of items currently being lent out: When lending out to multiple friends at a time, it can be hard to remember who has what and for how long they’ve had it. Keep a list or spreadsheet to track borrowed items. This way, your loaned items won’t turn into gifted items.
8 Things You Can Borrow and Loan
As a general rule, don’t loan or borrow things you expect to use regularly. That said, some items are better to borrow than others. The following are eight things we feel can be easily borrowed, helping you save space and build a better borrowing community.
If you use a car every day to get to and from school or work, you probably don’t want to lend it out. But, if you work from home, live in a city that’s too cramped for a car, or simply don’t use it as often as you thought you might, you may consider borrowing and/or lending a car.
This option is particularly viable if your town has a well-developed public transportation system, which you can use to easily get around. In this scenario, you’d really only need a car when picking up large items, like desks or couches.
And remember: car insurance covers the car, not the driver. But while the car may be covered regardless of who’s driving, a borrower getting into an accident may cause the owner’s rates to go up.
Power tools, like drills, orbital sanders, and other specialty tools, aren’t used as often as you might think. Sure, they’re nice to have around when you need them, but you could save a lot of money and space by borrowing these kinds of tools from friends and family.
3. Kitchen Appliances
Certain kitchen tools, like spice grinders, food processors, and meat grinders, are not commonly used in most household cookbooks. If you want to become a better cook but don’t own a novel kitchen tool, you should find someone to borrow from before spending the money yourself. In the case that you don’t like using the tool, borrowing it offers zero risk.
When you want to read a book but don’t want to clutter your bookshelf that’s already full of books you haven’t read, borrowing is the next best thing. It’s safe to assume that most everyone reading this list has borrowed a book before—that’s why libraries exist. So if you have something on your reading list, check your local library or find a friend who has a copy.
Unless you’re an avid world traveler, chances are your luggage is collecting dust in your storage area. Consider lending these to your friends who are taking a big cross-country trip. Or, if you don’t have any luggage but don’t have the space to store it, see what your friends have on hand.
6. Formal Attire
If you’re going to a wedding or other kind of formal event, it can be tempting to splurge on some fancy clothes. But when are you going to wear those clothes again? Our guess is not any time soon. Consider borrowing these types of clothes instead.
7. Camping Gear
For those who love the outdoor lifestyle but can’t get away often enough to enjoy it, borrowing your camping gear might be your best option. We’d recommend getting a sleeping bag that’s yours and borrowing most everything else.
If you’re lending your camping gear, be sure to inform the borrower what conditions your gear is best suited for.
8. Baby Gear
What happens to all that baby gear you buy after your child grows out of it? It likely just goes in the cellar. Instead, you can borrow/lend your baby gear so it doesn’t sit around until your children start having children.
Make the Environment Your Friend
Participating in the sharing economy can help you reduce individual waste, become better acquainted with your community, and save your space and money.
If you’re looking for more environmentally friendly things to do, consider switching to a sustainable energy plan. Contact Kiwi Energy today to start supporting sustainable energy and a better future.