I don’t love gear, you love gear! Well, let’s be honest we all love gear. Who hasn’t thirsted after the next brand-new innovation in gear, when you know your puffy jacket is still in great shape? Some of my friends own more than four puffy jackets, while they use maybe two of them. And I know, it can be SO worth it, but I'm gonna ask you to take a minute to think about your environmental impact. Buzzkill!
Even when you ship your used gear back to a retailer, chances are that it will not end up on someone else’s body, but in a landfill.
Here’s the thing, our buy-and-throw-away culture is getting the better of us. You may have been thinking the outdoor industry would be an exception to the rule, but sadly it isn’t. The majority of outdoor gear is made with plastic, most of which is not recycled. Even when you ship your used gear back to a retailer, chances are that it will not end up on someone else’s body, but in a landfill. This plastic waste is polluting our freshwater and our oceans and mucking up the pristine nature that we all cherish so dearly.
More and more businesses are attempting to increase their sustainability practices in their supply chain and beyond, but these measures are not nearly enough. In 2017, the Outdoor Industry Association found that 13 million tons of textiles (shoes, clothing, etc.) are thrown out each year, and that’s just in the USA. If all those textiles were recycled or reused, it would be like taking 13 million cars off the road, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But, the percent of clothing, footwear, and other textiles that get recycled is way low—16%. I KNOW we can do better than that! Especially considering most of us actually care about the environment and want to make sure future generations can relish in it the way we do.
But, the percent of clothing, footwear, and other textiles that get recycled is way low—16%.
Now that the bad news is over with, time for the good news. You can do something about your environmental impact! The first thing you can do is make sure you’re buying from companies that are either making their gear from recycled plastic or other sustainable materials. Your dollars are worth a lot, and if companies with sustainable practices start doing really well in comparison to others, all of them will have to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. Try to find brands that participate in the Outdoor Industry Association and measure their business against the Higg Index, which allows businesses to assess the sustainability of their brand, facility, and product.
The second thing you can do is try to make sure your old gear does not just go straight to a landfill. Let’s say you go ahead and buy that super-innovative puffy jacket. Don’t just throw out your old one or forget about it in storage somewhere! Give it to the rerouted co-op or maybe even another re-gear store. Because if you don’t want it anymore, I can guarantee someone else will. Unfortunately, there are some things that cannot be reused, such as helmets, climbing ropes, or gear that has been severely damaged. But, that leaves A TON of gear that CAN be reused:
- Skis, snowboards, bindings, poles, boots, and ski jackets and pants
- Chalk bags, climbing shoes, and climbing hardware
- Hiking clothes, backpacks, and shoes
- Camping gear like tents, stoves, sleeping bags and pads, tarps, lanterns, headlamps, etc.
- Did I mention clothes? People generally like to be clothed while pursuing outdoor activities!
- And more!
Contact the rerouted co-op today if you have any questions!