The Textile Waste Problem
At NoSo, we love gear. Tents, jackets, backpacks, and pretty much anything else you can throw a patch on. But something we love even more is keeping it on the trail! Do you know how much textile waste each person generates in the US? 81 pounds according to the EPA! The majority of this waste is clothing and shoes, and 84% of that waste ends up in landfills. How do we make sure more gear stays on the trail and out of landfills? You can reduce your clothing waste in a radical way. Simply extending the life of your gear, according to Patagonia, is the most effective way. If your gear is on it’s way out, we encourage you to repair it. Holding onto your gear rather than discarding it gives you the power to make a difference with our textile waste problem in the US. And it turns your NoSo patch into a conversation starter about sustainability.
How to Properly Dispose of Gear
There does come a point, however, when gear has reached the end of its life cycle. So what should you do with your well-loved gear? Donating, recycling, repurposing are all great options. A number of brands have started programs that enable you to toss your gear in a responsible way. Colombia’s ReThreads program reuses, upcycles, or recycles shoes and clothing. The donated items are either resold on the second-hand market or converted into insulation, fabric, or other textiles. You can find these ReThread bins inside their stores around the US. REI has a similar program called the Give Back Box. Box up your gear and send it into REI with a prepaid shipping label. The gear is then sorted and either resold or recycled into other materials. And if none of those options work for you, this article from Outside Magazine has some creative ideas on alternative uses for your retired gear.
How to Choose Your Next Piece of Gear
Finally when it’s time to purchase your next piece of gear we recommend looking for brands that embrace sustainability. There are several outdoor brands dedicated to the quest for sustainability. Brands like Patagonia, Columbia, REI, and the North Face offer products with recycled fabrics that can easily be recycled when they reach the end of their life. This recycled material can then be used to make another jacket, tent, backpack, etc. This circular or closed-loop system is becoming a popular trend for outdoor brands today. As programs for gear recycling increase and the technology for processing material advances, we should put a dent in the amount of gear that ends up in landfills. We hope you enjoyed this article. Please sign up for our email list to stay up to date on our blog posts, sales, and new patches!