Could Japan Airlines’ New Clothes Rental Service Cut Carbon Emissions?
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Could Japan Airlines’ New Clothes Rental Service Cut Carbon Emissions?

A new scheme offers the chance to rent your holiday outfits

We all know the struggle. You’re packing for a holiday, trying to squeeze as much as possible into a tiny suitcase to save forking out on hold luggage. But what if you could pack nothing at all – and arrive at your destination to find a vacation wardrobe ready and waiting?

Japan Airlines Has Launched A New Holiday Clothes Rental Scheme

This is the thinking behind a new scheme from Japan Airlines, the ‘Any Wear, Anywhere’ venture, which allows travellers to rent a package of clothes ahead of their trip. It’s running in partnership with trading company Sumitomo, who will source pre-owned items and overstock before delivering the items to your Airbnb or hotel. You’ll be able to choose from styles such as casual and smart casual, with clothes available in sizes ranging from small to extra large.

There are, of course, personal benefits to travelling light – swanning through the airport with no suitcase in tow is always nice. But Japan Airlines will also be looking into whether the project could have an environmental impact, monitoring how a lighter load on board could affect the aircraft’s carbon emissions.

Japan Airlines plane

The aviation industry contributes to five percent of the world’s global warming problem, so anything that might help reduce its impact is worth exploring. According to the rental website, cutting around 22 pounds of luggage on a flight from New York to Toyko cuts carbon emissions by around 16.5 pounds – the equivalent of 78 days of not using a hair dryer. 

Experts have highlighted that it could also help with a mindset shift. Richard Cope, sustainability consultant at Mintel, has suggested schemes like this could ‘raise awareness, to a degree, around emissions related to weight and distribution, and the need for all of us to buy, own and make do with less.’ 

Suitcase with a hat and make-up

On the other hand, while the carbon footprint might be cut from the airline’s side, there will be new emissions created from the rental service itself. Saif Benjaafar, a professor and supply chain expert at the University of Minnesota, has argued that rental services ‘often fall short in delivering on the environmental promise’ as a result of the emissions from the delivery, return and cleaning of items.’

Japan Airlines has said they are looking into greener delivery options, and other ‘sustainable transportation solutions’.

Others have predicted the venture might mean people end up just filling their luggage with other items – books, accessories, make-up, whatever floats your boat. And there’s also the question of: will travellers actually go for it? We’re all for renting clothes, but going on holiday and not knowing whether your outfits will suit you, or fit well, might not be so appealing.

The scheme kicks off this week for a 14-month trial, so watch this space.