Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is not meant only for factories and money-making corporates. You can do it too, says the British Government's waste watchdog in its most recent report.
It has determined that large wardrobes of seldom-used clothes are no longer environmentally acceptable and people should instead rent outfits and accessories, thus helping to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
According to the Times, a report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has called for the transformation of a large part of the retail sector into a service industry specialising in renting goods, with each item used by many different people during its lifetime.
WRAP has identified five categories of goods suitable for renting, namely, high-end clothing; glassware and tableware; tools and equipment for house and garden; vehicles; and telephone, audio and recreational equipment.
On clothing, the report proposes that hiring should replace 10 per cent of the retail market within ten years.
"It could be quite liberating and free our homes and garages from all that clutter that we rarely use. By hiring, we can also get better party dresses and handbags or a better drill to do some DIY than we would be willing to buy," said Liz Goodwin, WRAP's chief executive.
"Why would anyone want to own that many things anyway? We need to have the confidence that we can get things when we need them but we don't need to have them sitting beside us every day," she added.
According to Goodwin, people needed to understand the environmental cost of ownership.
"I hope that, in the future, we will look back and be glad that we have moved on from the day when we felt we needed umpteen pairs of shoes," she said.
The report, based on research by York University, calculates that better use of resources could deliver 10 per cent of the carbon dioxide savings that Britain has legally committed to making by 2020.
Shifting a fifth of household spending from purchasing to renting would cut emissions by about 2 per cent, or 13 million tonnes of CO2 a year, through a fall in manufacturing and lower consumption of raw materials.
The report said that 20 per cent of the market for tools could shift from purchasing to hiring by 2020 and up to 90 per cent by 2050.
The report identifies 143 billion pounds of annual expenditure on goods that could have been used for longer.
It said that clothing is only being used, on average, for 66 per cent of its potential lifespan. Using items for their full lifespan would save consumers 47 billion pounds a year, it claims.