According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we threw over 32 billion pounds of clothing, shoes and other textiles in 2014. In an effort to reduce the 81 pounds on average that each of us put in the trash each year, Columbia Sportswear is rolling out their ReThreads program nationwide. Simply bring your unwanted apparel, outerwear, and footwear into your nearest Columbia store so it can be given a new life as something else.
Garments and footwear that are dropped in ReThreads bins in each Columbia store will be sent to a textile processing facility through I:CO, a textile recycling solutions company. The products are then sorted, reprocessed, reused and recycled. Products that are wearable find new homes through the second-hand market. Products that cannot be worn get another life in applications such as toys, artwork and cleaning cloths. Products that cannot be reused are recycled into secondary raw materials for items such as running tracks, insulation, carpet padding, stuffing for toys and even fiber for new clothing.
Between now and September 10th, Columbia will donate $1.00 for every pound of clothing collected at it’s stores. When you come in to drop off clothes or shoes, you will be given a token to place your vote as to where the money should go. You can choose from the following non-profits:
• American Hiking Society- As the national voice for hikers, the American Hiking Society recognizes that foot trails and hiking are essential to connecting people with nature, conserving open space, providing biological corridors for diverse plants and wildlife, and for the health of Americans and the natural environment.
• National Park Foundation- Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation is rooted in a legacy that began more than a century ago when private citizens from all walks of life took action to establish and protect our national parks. Today, the National Park Foundation carries on that tradition as the only national charitable nonprofit whose mission is to directly support the National Park Service.
• The Children & Nature Network- Nature has the power to make children happier, healthier and smarter. The Children & Nature Network is leading a global movement to increase equitable access to nature so that children and natural places can thrive.
This is a great initiative and I would love to see more brands follow suit. I know that brands such as Patagonia already have a recycling program in place but a product’s end of life should be considered by every company.