Surprising Facts About the Eco-Friendliness of Furniture Rental

By Dahna M. Chandler

A recent WalletHub “2017’s Greenest States” study ranked California as one of America’s top 15 eco-friendly states. The state also ranked in the top five for “Eco-Friendly Behaviors” and top 15 for “Climate Change Contributions.” The two Northwestern states, Oregon and Washington, also ranked highly in “Eco-Friendly Behaviors” and in the top half of states for “Climate Change Contributions.”

According to the study, California ranks highly because of the eco-friendly behaviors of its citizens and state government. The state focuses significant resources on green initiatives and is a global leader in innovative climate change programs.

Whether you live in California or anywhere else in the country, you can support eco-friendly efforts of your own to help make a difference. One way is choosing furniture rental for your home furnishing needs. Because of the durability and longevity of quality furniture, a piece of rental furniture is often reused up to six times before being sold in a clearance outlet. In contrast, a piece of furniture purchased new is typically only reused up to three times before polluting a landfill.

Additionally, furniture rental supports eco-friendly initiatives and reduces the carbon footprint of furniture in several other ways.

Reduces Consumer Waste

A 2009 study by the Sustainable Furniture Council showed that 86 percent of furniture buying consumers worry about global warming. As evidenced by the growing popularity of sustainable lifestyle choices, many people actively look for eco-friendly furnishing options. In California, for example, there’s significant activism focused on reducing landfill waste from items like low-quality retail furniture.

This waste also concerns Rachel Hulan, ASID, owner of Hulan Design, a sustainable interior design firm in Orange California. What she sees on Southern California streets indicates most consumers aren’t aware of their options for reducing this waste. “Neighborhood sidewalks on trash day hold a number of inexpensive furniture items,” she says. “They’re discarded by people who can afford to replace them with something new or of higher quality.”

Hulan is an active participant in the local green design community committed to increasing awareness of sustainable design. She sees furniture rental as one solution for reducing this waste.

Reduces State Resource Usage

“Both resource and landfill management are affected by the discarding of short-term use furniture,” says Hulan. Her projects over the past 16 years prove her deep sincerity when it comes to sustainable interior design. She has worked with Sundance Film Festival, the Teen Choice Awards, and LEED Platinum homes.

Hulan believes furniture rental could help reduce the number of state resources that are necessary to manage landfill waste. “In many circumstances, renting better quality furniture would be better for the environment rather than purchasing inexpensive ‘throw away’ furniture,” she asserts.

Numbers supports that opinion. With pieces reused up to six times, rental furniture can produce up to 49 percent fewer greenhouse gases when compared to a direct sales model. For a state like California, that’s compelling given initiatives like Under2 Coalition, an international pact among cities, states, and countries to limit the global average temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Anything above that temperature could lead to catastrophic consequences.

Raises Recycling to the Next Level

Research has shown that individuals and elected officials want to see eco-friendly habit changes that increase sustainability. Even when consumers don’t want to pay more for certain things, they often get behind initiatives designed to help the environment in a real way. In some cases, that could mean limiting the carbon footprint by raising recycling to the next level.

If your budget is tight, furniture rental allows you to furnish your home with more high-end furniture than you could afford to purchase outright. When you’re done with the furniture, you simply return it. When you rent from CORT Furniture Rental, the furniture is refurbished for rental to another customer. If the furniture’s rental life is over, 97 percent of it is discounted and resold to the public at a clearance center, extending its full life cycle even further.

This makes furniture rental the ultimate recycling program that could help with battling problems like climate change. “It is much better to return something for re-use by others than to discard it,” says Hulan, who rents or borrows furniture for her events. “We all live on this little blue planet, and there are only so many places we can extract resources from and later throw them away.”