Jul 8, 2021
Clothing rental, like recycling and second hand, is one of the solutions offered by the fashion industry to reduce its impact on the planet. But are these new models really good for the environment? Not really, reveals a new study which notably points to the greenhouse gas emissions generated by this popular service.
Bad news for those who saw clothing rental as a way to help the environment. The process would ultimately be worse in terms of environmental impact than buying and then throwing away clothes. In any case, this is what a Finnish study published in the scientific journal reveals. Environmental Research Letters, relayed by The Guardian. This news comes at a time when rental platforms are multiplying across the world, and even brands are launching their own service in turn.
The Finnish team of researchers analyzed the environmental impact, and more specifically greenhouse gas emissions, of five “ownership” and “end of life” scenarios for textiles, including clothing rental, recycling. , the second hand, or the fact of wearing them for a longer or shorter time before throwing them away. Something that had never been done before.
Renting clothes is said to have the greatest impact on the climate, the researchers saying it would be even worse than throwing away clothes after use. This is surprising since this service is now presented as a responsible alternative to traditional shopping.
The study indicates in particular that the round trips between the rental company and the warehouses, and therefore the weight of the transport, play an important role in these results, causing greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket, as well as cleaning at dry clothes, which also have a strong ecological impact.
In the end, rental companies should transform their logistics to make this service more respectful of the planet. Its environmental impact would then be at the same level as the resale of clothing, which does not appear to be the most ecological scheme either. The researchers conclude that the best solution remains to consume less fashion items, and to wear them for as long as possible, before thinking of reselling or giving them away.
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