The power of lending to reduce waste

The power of lending to reduce waste

October is the month of Waste Reduction Week, and this month I’ve been thinking a lot about reuse. Specifically about the lending/borrowing kind of reuse instead of the "buying one of everything to have sit around waiting for me to use it" kind of reuse.

Take books for example. I've virtually sworn off buying them, since I generally read them once and don't want to house them after that. Also, since having two kids my reading time is, shall we say, limited. I have discovered the magic of audio books and I can get them for free from the library, instead of buying them online. I use a free app called Hoopla on my phone and I love it.

I think a lot of people don’t realize how much they pay in taxes for their public libraries. And I’m not saying this because I think I overpay, I’m saying this because I think everyone should use them because they pay in. I looked it up and I pay about $100/year to the library. At $20/book, I only have to borrow five in a whole year to be getting a great return on my investment and I borrow about that many every month. If books aren’t your thing you can also borrow music, magazines and video games too.

And that’s just public libraries. There are so many other cool library options for borrowing instead of buying. Little Free Libraries are a great idea – to share books between people who might not venture to a public library. It’s a chance to donate books you are done with and discover new ones. We have a neighbour who put one up, and I think it’s such a great community feature.

I’ll also take this chance to plug the Library of Things and the Toy Library in Saskatoon. They both allow people to borrow stuff for free instead of buying it. I treasure these organizations that provide items free of charge to reduce the barrier to borrowing. That said, I think it is well worth the money to rent items instead of purchasing them.

Each year I do some event organizing for the Council, and I am so grateful to be able to rent much of what we need and bring it back – no need to store it or maintain it. For example, if you come to the free movie night in Regina, we’re giving out popcorn – made by a rented popcorn machine!

What about you – are there things that you already rent instead of own? Maybe a cabin in the summer, or a second car when you really need it? Comment below and join the conversation.