Zero Waste Babies Part 2: Join the Sharing Economy
By Sarah Currie-Halpern
As a Mom of 3, including a 7 1/2 month old baby boy, I know a thing or two about baby gear. New gear arrives along with 10 pounds of Styrofoam. Gear comes in 1,000 pieces, hubby has no time or interest in putting it together and it takes me about 50 hours to put it together! Gear breaks and I have no idea how to fix it. Do I try to donate it or recycle it? Is it even recyclable? Does this story sound familiar to you?
To make matters worse, baby equipment (other than cribs and strollers) is used on average for just 1- 2 months before baby outgrows it! Given this fact I have been determined not to buy baby gear for my infant son! Fortunately this does not mean we have to go without handy, age-appropriate baby gear. Enter BabyQuip, and other local baby gear rental companies, originally designed for travelers, these companies are now catering to a new generation of parents who appreciate the sharing economy and prefer to rent rather than buy. Browse the internet and I guarantee you will find several different options for renting baby gear in your area.
BabyQuip is my personal favorite, a nationwide baby gear rental franchise, we are fortunate to have several BabyQuip franchise owners in Boulder, CO alone (the place I call home for most of the year.) I have rented everything under the sun from my BabyQuip rep, Brian, including pack ’n’ plays, bouncers, high chairs, fabric Bjorn chairs, walkers, hiking backpacks, and more. The items show up within 1 day, clean and sanitized and ready to go (no more putting together baby equipment- yay!!) Plus Brian will answer any questions I have about the pieces of equipment I rent. If anything breaks he will come fix it. When I am done with the item(s) (typically 1 or 2 months when my son no longer fits or wants to use them anymore) he comes within 1 day to pick them up.
Renting baby gear also allows you to try out the newest gear and see how you like it. I once rented a Snoo while visiting my Mom in Connecticut and my son hated it! I saved myself $1600 and lots of headaches by not buying it.
Financially you often save money renting gear versus buying it, depending on how long you rent it for. The longer you rent the more it costs, but most baby gear rental companies offer a discount for longer term rentals. For example, I rented the Fisher Price Snow Leopard swing for 2 months for $150. This swing goes for $169.99 on buybuyBaby. I saved $20 and a whole lot of headaches. Another example, I recently rented the Baby Einstein Neighborhood Friends Activity Jumper for $15 per month for 4 months, for a total of $60. It goes for $110.99 on buybuybaby. Once again, I saved $60 and all the headaches that come with ownership of baby gear.
For gear that I cannot rent or borrow or get from a friend, I buy second-hand. I recommend checking out Once Upon a Child if you have one in your area or your local Facebook Marketplace or Buy Nothing page.
I think the sharing economy has a lot to offer new parents- cost savings, a knowledgeable baby gear expert to put it together, fast delivery and pick up, less headaches, and more. Do yourself a favor and try renting one thing for your baby rather than buying it, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed!