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One of the best ways to help tend the Earth and promote the Jewish value of bal tashchit (reducing wastefulness) is by reducing the amount of things you buy but don’t really need on a daily basis. There are many items that might not be on your list when you first think of products to rent such as camping equipment, toys or handbags. Below are some suggestions that can save you money and help the planet.

Please note: JEI does not vouch for any particular rental site listed in this blog. It is suggested that you engage in due diligence with respect to any online provider, such as asking for recommendations and checking with the Better Business Bureau before using a site.

Camping equipment: Unless you are an avid camper, chances are you don’t need to buy expensive equipment that will sit in your basement most of the year. Consider renting items such as tents, backpacks and insulated low-temperature sleeping bags. REI is one retailer that rents out equipment. You can find out more about what items are available for rental near where you live at http://www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html.

Handbags: If you need a fancy handbag for a special occasion, consider renting one for a week. There are several sites that offer a range of bags at a variety of prices to suit your needs and budget. A few companies to look into are www.bagborroworsteal.com (which also offers a range of insurance plans for your rental), www.frombagstoriches.com and www.rentmeahandbag.com . Some of these services do charge a monthly fee or a registration fee, so check websites carefully.

Toys: Because children often lose interest in that new toy after the novelty wears off, renting toys for a limited time can be appealing. There are several companies that offer toy rental options. If you are going this route, make sure that the company you use guarantees the cleanliness of whatever it rents and has a reasonable policy if a toy breaks. Some companies even offer a rent to own option, so that if you rent a toy that becomes a favorite your child doesn’t have to part with it. Sites to check out include http://babyplays.com, www.toygaroo.com and http://mybusybucket.com.

Next time you need an item that you doubt you will be using long-term or that will be outgrown, ask around or do a web search and see if it is available on a rental basis. There may be more options than you think.


This blog originally appeared on jewishinstlouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345

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Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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