Columbia Sportswear is taking its ReThreads program to more than 100 Columbia stores across the United States to help people recycle used clothing and footwear. And for the first month of the national program, Columbia will make a financial contribution to a non-profit organization for every pound of clothing that is recycled and kept out of landfills.
“The issue of clothing ending up in landfills is a significant problem, and we want do our part to help conserve our material resources and reduce our collective carbon footprint,” said Columbia Sr. Global Corporate Relations Manager Scott Welch. “We are thrilled to build on last year’s successful ReThreads pilot program and roll it out to all of our stores and their communities around the country.”
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website, Americans discarded over 32 billion pounds of clothing, shoes and other textiles in 2014, accounting for over 6 percent of the municipal waste stream. With the average American throwing away 81 pounds of textiles per year, the Columbia ReThreads program aims to reduce this amount and impact by asking people to drop off garments, outerwear and footwear (in clean, dry condition) at each of its store locations. According to the EPA website, programs like ReThreads help keep these items out of the landfill and contribute to the over 5 billion pounds of consumer textile waste being reused or recycled today.
After garments and footwear are dropped in the ReThreads bins in each Columbia store, they are sent to a processing facility through I:CO, a textile recycling solutions company. Items that are still re-wearable are sold as second-hand goods through I:CO’s network. Unwearable items are reused for products like cleaning cloths or recycled into fibers for products such as insulation and new fabrics.