Renting: One Green Behavior That Makes “Cents”

I have often sat and thought about how to change the behavior or perspective of an entire society. Something like that is never easy, but I think that sensible incentives, combined with our current economic setting, can really drive people to embrace more environmentally friendly behavior. When you think about the basics of green behavior (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) it’s easy to see how being green doesn’t mean buying expensive organic or all natural products. It’s a shift in our behaviors to live more sustainable lifestyles through better purchasing decisions, because being green means buying less stuff, not “better” stuff. In today’s economy, monetarily incentivizing these basic green behaviors makes a great deal of sense to businesses looking to capitalize on this emerging trend.

Peer-to-Peer Renting, also known as Collaborative Consumption, is becoming an increasingly popular concept because of today’s tight wallets, green desires, and a new comfort with social connectivity. According to a recent Time article,

The trend is taking off partly as a result of the recession; renting something you don’t need to use very often makes a lot more sense than buying it and letting it collect dust in your garage. There’s a green aspect as well, since sharing helps cut down on overall use of resources. But one of collaborative consumption’s most surprising benefits turns out to be social. In an era when families are scattered around the country and we may not know the people down the street from us, sharing things — even with strangers we’ve just met online — allows us to make meaningful connections.”

Websites, like Rentalic, offer the ability for people to rent online securely and socially, while also providing an easy way for people to engage in the basic environmentally friendly behaviors of ‘reuse’ and ‘reduce’. Rentalic states on it’s website that, “Rentalic provides an innovative online rental marketplace that enables person-to-person renting among friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. Rentalic’s philosophy of “Rent | Share | Be Green” fosters reuse and sharing of goods, thereby reducing the carbon footprint while enabling people to save money and earn money.” Concepts that are based on this collaborative consumption concept are a solid part of the solution for incentivizing environmentally friendly behaviors because they are taking age-old concepts that work, and work for the environment, and bringing them to our digital world.

What makes Rentalic stand out in a growing crowd of online rental marketplaces are two things. First, they utilize a post-transaction, social rating system which can build a persons credibility on the site. This is crucial for a system like this to really take-off in our society because, in today’s socially connected world, a collection of other people’s opinions are all that really matter. Second, they have developed an innovative security system that ensures each rental transaction goes smoothly. Here is a summary of Rentalic’s security in that same Time article,

 “The San Mateo, Calif., Rentalic not only checks to make sure borrowers have sufficient funds to complete the PayPal transaction but also creates a secret security code for each reservation. The code protects the borrower by giving him a chance to inspect the goods before the money is transferred, and it protects the owner by helping make sure the goods are being handed over to the authorized borrower.”

As more and more people start looking for easy ways to save and make extra money, I believe business models that capitalize on the concepts of ‘reuse’, ‘reduce’, or ‘recycling’, as the means to an economically incentivized end, will see a great deal of success. The main reason is because it’s a win-win situation that just makes sense in today’s world. Rentalic’s is one company that is leading the way for the person-to-person renting trend with their innovative concepts that make renting easier and more secure. It is a great place to start if you are looking to earn extra money through renting or if you are looking to save money and be green by reducing the amount of things you would normally buy.

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