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Posted on November 16th, 2009 by Victoria Ronco


We’d like to highlight business models and concepts that are “doing good” in some way.  We’re seeing new trends shaping the way we think about consumption, and the internet seems to be the most common vehicle for them. With that in mind, this is our first post in a new regular segment we’re launching, the “Spotlight on “Do Good” Businesses for the New Economy”

Concept: Borrowing/Lending/Renting vs. Owning

You always hear about the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – but the least employed one is “Reduce”. Many people will reuse plastic shopping bags, and recycle paper & glass & all manner of things. But it seems we can’t help ourselves when it comes to buying stuff. That’s where renting/borrowing and lending become really useful. Do you really need to buy that fancy new appliance that you’ll probably only use twice a year? Probably not. So why not rent it for the day (or week, or month) from someone else? Saves you money, and saves the amount of stuff you have just sitting around taking up space.

How often have you thought a product looked really good, so you bought it on an impulse, took it home, tried it out, and never used it again? By renting first you can see if you’ll really like the product before spending your hard earned cash on it.  I did this earlier this year, with the wii-fit. I thought I’d use it every day, I was certain that not having it was the only thing standing in the way of me working out. So I borrowed it from a friend to try it out before spending the $200 on a new one. I tried it once, and never used it again. I ended up returning it to him after it sat in my living room for a month, untouched.

Not only does lending/borrowing and renting save you money, but it also encourages companies to produce less. If products aren’t flying off the shelves, they’ll scale back on producing them. That means the environment has less factories polluting it. If that weren’t enough, another great benefit of borrowing/lending/renting is that it connects you with other members in your local community.

So the next time you’re thinking about buying a brand new pair of Skis, or anything else for that matter, ask yourself: can I borrow/rent it instead?

Check out these sites for Borrowing/Lending/Renting:

  • craigslist (they have a ‘free stuff’ section, or look through the community ads
  • kiji
  • your local newspaper, or even community center notice boards.
  • If you’re looking for something specific, try googling it. For example, renting a wedding dress.
  • try finding sites specifically for borrowing/lending/renting. We’ve profiled one:

BorrowMe Logo

Company Name: BorrowMe

In A Nutshell:

BorrowMe lets you borrow, lend or rent anything from anybody.
BorrowMe helps consumers, local clubs and organizations to buy less stuff, and make more of what we’ve got. Whether you borrow, lend or rent – we’ll help you organize and access the abundance in your own community. Earn a tidy profit without giving up your things, or save a bundle for the things that matter most.

Why We Like Them:

Not only does borrowme help you reduce waste, but it also is a great way to band together with your local community to share those things that you have laying around. Borrowme lets you lend, borrow, or rent virtually anything, saving you from having to buy a BBQ if you’re only going to use it once and then leave it outside to rust. Not only does BorrowMe reduce waste and save you pennies, it also has a ‘wish list’ function so you can be notified when something you were looking for becomes available!

Social Responsibility: With BorrowMe you can lend your items to charitable organizations that are in need. They have also established a philanthropic arm to their company, that uses a percentage of their revenue and capital to fund social initiatives.


Kudos to sites that are shaping the new economy to be one that cares about the environment. If you know any other companies or organizations doing great things, let us know!

2 Responses to “Spotlight on “Do Good” Businesses for the New Economy: Borrowing, Lending and Renting vs. Owning”

  1. Kray Mitchell Says:

    Thanks for the coverage! Just saw the tweet (Getting used to this whole Twitter thing ;o)

    Great article!

  2. Dawn Bowles Says:

    Pleasure Kray, Always happy to pass on good ideas!

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