Consumerism is becoming a societal norm. Whether you purchase a product or lease it, it’s important to understand how these choices have an effect on our surroundings. When it comes to being eco-friendly, which option holds the least environmental disadvantages – Owning or Leasing?
Owning a product gives you the highest degree of control over how you manage your resources. You can use it as collateral, sell the product and recover some of the costs, or continue to use it while it remains productive. The greatest benefit with owning a product is that the consumer has the ability to make environmentally-friendly modifications. There are even some tax incentives to help consumers make these beneficial changes. However, with owning comes maintenance costs, product depreciation or appreciation, and consumer responsibility for its end-of-life disposal.
As a consumer, leasing is a budget-friendly option for large ticket items such as equipment, vehicles, and apartments. A disadvantage or trade-off of leasing is the manufacturer or business still owns and controls the usage of that product or building. After years of push back from consumers, many companies and manufacturers are opting for recycling take-back programs or creating leasing options for unconventional items like cellphones, furniture, and even live chickens. Some building managers are even implementing ‘Green Leases’; an agreement between a landlord and tenant as to how a building is to be occupied, operated, and managed in a sustainable way. The greatest environmental benefit is that the responsibility for the product is shared. Consumers must ensure the product is returned back in a functioning state.Manufacturers are responsible for the reuse of products again and for finding a recycling or repurposing program before discarding of it as waste.
So which option is better for our planet? The answer is based on you and your personal situation. Make sure to do your research when you are considering purchasing a product or service. Then choose what is best suited for you, your values, and aligns with the most environmentally friendly option.