Patagonia to recycle customers’ underwear

Patagonia Inc ( Ventura, CA) has launched the Common Threads Recycling Program which will convert used base-layers, or long underwear, into new polyester fiber. Canadian consumers can return their old Patagonia clothing via mail.

Patagonia will send the recovered garments to Teijin Group, a Japanese fabric manufacturer that uses recycled material to make new polyester fiber.

Recycling the material could cut energy use by 76 percent and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 71 percent, compared with making the fiber from raw material. See their website for more details.

(Source: March 2006 WasteWatch)

Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative Unique

Patagonia has launched a first-of-its-kind campaign for a consumer products company – asking customers to reduce unnecessary consumption of its own products.

“The Common Threads Initiative addresses a significant part of today’s environmental problem – the footprint of our stuff,” notes Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder and owner. “This program first asks customers to not buy something if they don’t need it. If they do need it, we ask that they buy what will last a long time – and to repair what breaks, reuse or resell whatever they don’t wear any more. And, finally, recycle whatever’s truly worn out.”

Patagonia in turn commits to make products that last, help repair quickly anything that breaks, and recycle the company’s entire product line.

To help customers put used clothes back in circulation, Patagonia and eBay Inc. have joined forces to launch a new marketplace for customers to buy and sell used Patagonia gear.

The campaign flies in the face of conventional retail and economic theory that stresses the importance of ever-increasing growth.

Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative store on eBay establishes a new model for consumption: It marks the first time a major retail brand actively encourages its customers to buy and sell used products on eBay, and it is eBay’s first multi-seller branded store.

A customer who lists a used Patagonia product on eBay will be asked to take the Common Threads Initiative pledge and become a partner. Membership will make the customer’s listing eligible for inclusion in the Common Threads Initiative store on eBay and on Patagonia will not receive any of the profits associated with the Common Threads Initiative storefront.

The collaboration between Patagonia and eBay was born out of their common interest in extending the useful life of products. eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace, has, over the past year, developed new initiatives that extend the impact of its inherently sustainable business model. The eBay Box, launched as a pilot in September 2010, encourages buyers and sellers to reuse packaging.

The Common Threads initiative is a perfect fit for eBay’s sustainability slogan: “the greenest product is one that already exists.” The company hopes it will create a new model for sustainable commerce within the apparel industry – one that emphasizes product, reuse, and tapping the full useful life of clothing.

(Source: in August 2012 WasteWatch)