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This story was originally published by The Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

A study has revealed that renting clothes, long touted as one of the “answers” to fashion’s sustainability crisis, is worse for the planet than throwing them away.

The study, published by the Finnish scientific journal Environmental Research Letters assessed the environmental impact of five different ways of owning and disposing of clothing, including renting, resale and recycling.

It found that renting clothes had the highest climate impact of all. The hidden environmental cost was found to be delivery and packaging costs. Renting involves a large amount of transportation, taking the clothes back and forth between the warehouse and the renter. Dry cleaning is also harmful to the environment.

Renting clothes has been thought of the sustainable and frugal alternative to fast fashion, popularized by companies such as Rent the Runway and public figures like Carrie Symonds, who rented her wedding dress and her outfits for the G7 conference. Gwyneth Paltrow is on the Rent the Runway board and Ralph Lauren ha... Read more

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