How green is that movie rental?

My M.O. with movies, as with books, is borrow rather than buy.  My reading far outpaces my movie watching, in part because I also watch very little TV, so I’m rarely exposed to movie previews.  My one-movie-theatre-visit-a-year also limits my preview exposure.

Anyway, we’ve had decent luck getting some movies from the public library, but their collection is limited and, when they do have a movie, the DVD is often in such bad shape that it’s unwatchable.

After slowly working our way through Matthew’s sci-fi television show collection over the past four years, we’ve recently found ourselves wanting to rent a movie or two.

We quickly discovered that actual movie rental places are becoming obsolete.  All of the within-easy-biking-distance video stores were out of business, and I was not about to hop in the car.  Enter Netflix.

We’d been talking about Netflix for awhile.  I was hesitant because I felt like I would end up watching more movies (i.e., spending more time being a couch potato) than I would otherwise in order to get my moneys worth.  Moving into the colder, darker, just-want-to-snuggle-up-on-the-couch time of year, we bit the bullet and signed up for the month-long free trial last week.

The two movies that we’d tried (and failed) to obtain from the library over the past year went in our queue first: Coyote Ugly and the original Charlie and Chocolate Factory.  One classic and one movie that I loved in high school — Matthew had not seen either.

So, what’s the green angle on this?  Read “Video Stores vs. Online Rentals: Is your Netflix queue destroying the environment?” for a decent look at the various issues involved, from packaging materials and waste to fuel consumed in transit.

Bottom line: getting videos through Netflix is less green than not getting videos at all, but perhaps not worse than driving to the video store.  If you can bike to a video store (or your library), that would be the greenest option.  You can also get Netflix and only use the streaming feature to watch videos on-demand on your computer, bypassing the packaging/shipping issues.  (We watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this way, but the selections are limited.)

I’m not sure how long we’ll continue with Netflix, but as long as we’re doing this thing for now, what other movies should we add to our queue?


  1. Natalie Tenner says:

    Kinky Boots! It’s a lovely movie about a northern England shoe maker and the drag queen that helps him save the factory. not particularly green but a great film.
    Also, a little known Disney sequel, Belle’s Enchanted Christmas, which takes place in the winter between when Belle goes to the castle and when the beast turns back into a human (sorry for any spoilers). Tim Curry plays the organ. Perfect fun film to enhance the Christmas spirit 🙂

  2. Alex says:

    I second Natalie’s recommendation for kinki boots.

    I watched Ponyo last night, which is available on streaming. It is from the group that did Spirited Away and Harold’s Moving Castle. They weave mythology and reality in beautiful hand-drawn cartoons that are enchanting for all ages. Even Will, who was resistant for several months to watch it, love it. We have it 5 stars.

    Another sweet movie is Once. Its a musical love story. I think you and Matthew would enjoy it as well.

  3. Liz Harris says:

    You two would probably enjoy the BBC version of Bleak House in 2005– there are lots of great character actors.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s