3 Ways Renting is Good for the Earth

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Sarah Wuenscher
Apr 22, 2022

Happy Earth Day, everyone! While we’re firm believers that every day is Earth Day, today it’s top of mind that we are, in fact, living on a rock flying through outer space and that we should definitely be doing our part to take care of it. Since jetting off to Mars isn’t an option for most of us, we’ve done some digging into ways we can contribute to a healthier planet in our day-to-day lives. Turns out, renting is a way to minimize our carbon footprint!

Image of an apartment complex with text that reads "Apartment complexes use 2x less energy than single-family homes."

1. Apartment living conserves energy (and a lot of it)

If you’re reading this blog, that likely means you’re a card-holding member of the apartment renter club. But did you know that by living in a multi-family community, you’re also showing our planet some TLC?  In a study done at the University of Toronto, energy use and gas emissions of high-density developments (apartment complexes) proved to be a third of what is emitted by low-density developments (homes and private rentals). The study went on to show that single-family homes specifically use about twice as much energy as multi-family buildings.

When it comes to the environmental impact of your living space, size does matter. With the summer season approaching, the suggestion to simply not use the AC can sound downright offensive (especially for our friends in Texas). Luckily, if you live in an apartment, you can feel more at ease with your impact when cooling down 650 square feet as opposed to one standalone structure that’s 3-5x its size!

We do an even deeper dive into the environmental impact of apartment living in last year’s Earth Day blog. So, before all of you apartment dwellers go back to scrolling through educational infographics and restocking your reusable straw stashes, remember to give yourself a big pat on the back for paying rent this month.

Image of a furnished apartment with text that reads "Rental companies are disrupting the home-to-curb cycle that sends over 9 million tons of furniture to the landfill each year."

2. The future of furniture is eco-friendly

Want to go even greener with your apartment? Rent your furniture. Hear us out — subscription services are quickly becoming the new normal. We don’t even think twice about shelling out a monthly payment for access to shows, music, meal prep ingredients, and our apartments. So, why not use a subscription service for furniture?

Furniture rental companies like Fernish and CORT are disrupting the home-to-curb cycle that sends over 9 million tons of furniture to the landfill each year — and that number isn’t even counting thousands of appliances. Instead of outright buying the expensive couch you’ve been eyeing, renting gives you the option to lease your dream pieces and appliances on a monthly, annual, or rent-to-own basis.

Instead of throwing out the pieces you’re ready to part with, the company handles refurbishing and rehoming the furniture, overall creating less waste. No more dealing with strangers lowballing you on Marketplace or bribing your friend with a truck to move your heavy stuff across town — the service includes pickups and deliveries, too! When you’re ready to start your furniture rental journey, we’ve got discount codes to help you save money and the planet, one accent chair at a time:

  • Fernish: Use our link and code SMART75 for $75 off. (Available in: ATX, DTX, FTW)
  • CORT: Get 50% off your first month when you use our link and code SMARTCITY50. (Available in: ATL, ATX, DTX, CHI, DEN, FTW, HOU, SA)

Image of clothing hanging on a clothing rack that reads "Renting clothing can be a more eco-friendly way to feel like a million bucks without contributing to the 53 million tons of clothing sent to landfills each year."

3. A rotating wardrobe is a greener wardrobe

With trends moving at rapid speeds these days, major retailers attempt to keep up by restocking their sites with thousands of new styles on a weekly basis. In fact, clothing production doubled worldwide since the year 2000. If you’re thinking that can’t be good for the environment, according to the UN, you’re right.

The fashion industry is estimated to produce around 8% of the global total carbon emissions — “every second, the equivalent of a garbage truck full of textiles are landfilled or burned”. It’s also the second-highest user of water worldwide, taking a shocking 7500 gallons of water to make a single pair of blue jeans. In order to cut down the environmental cost, changing the way clothing is created and consumed is key. While taking care of what’s already hanging in your closet and shopping secondhand are great ways to curate a more planet-friendly wardrobe, let’s face it — most people want to wear something new sometimes.

Enter: clothing rentals! For those times when an occasion calls for something new, renting a cool piece from a company like Rent the Runway or Nuuly can be a more eco-friendly way to feel like a million bucks without contributing to the 53 million tons of clothing sent to landfills each year. For more regular updates, these companies also have subscription services to refresh your wardrobe more often, and even handle the burden of laundering and restoring clothing before it heads to the next renter’s closet. Thankfully, contributing less waste never goes out of style.


That’s all we’ve got for this year’s Earth Day spiel. If you’re feeling inspired to get out there and lease an apartment with all the eco-friendly bells and whistles, you know where to find us!

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