12/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why Own When You Can Rent? Bikes, Tools, Clothes, Cats?

Ah, the product service system (or PSS): one of TreeHugger's favorite concepts shrouded by one of the clunkiest names. For anyone who'd like a quick refresher, a PSS replaces a product with a service; instead of paying for the product itself (and whatever maintenance and upkeep it requires), you pay to use the product for a bit, and then give it back. Think of it this way: a PSS is often an answer to the question, "Hey, do you really need to own one of those?"

There are a few classic examples: libraries, bike sharing (pictured above), and car-sharing services are all good ones, and we've rounded up a bunch of other good examples in the past. But what makes a good product service system? Read on for a few examples of some newer PSS's that also exemplify why it's better to rent than buy.

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