As it turns out, renting clothes is not such a sustainable idea after all.
A study has revealed that renting clothes, long touted as one of the “answers” to fashion’s sustainability crisis, is worse for the planet than throwing them away.
The study, published by the Finnish scientific journal Environmental Research Letters assessed the environmental impact of five different ways of owning and disposing of clothing, including renting, resale, and recycling.
It found that renting clothes had the highest climate impact of all. The hidden environmental cost was found to be delivery and packaging costs. Renting involves a large amount of transportation, taking the clothes back and forth between the warehouse and the renter. Dry cleaning is also harmful to the environment.
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