Once the 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. Non-wearable items are reused for products like cleaning cloths or recycled into fibres for products such as insulation and new fabrics.
“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 programme and roll it out to all of our stores and their communities around the country.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, Americans discarded over 32 billion pounds of clothing, shoes and other textiles in 2014, accounting for over 6 per cent of the municipal waste stream. According to the EPA’s website, programmes 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.
In celebration of this ReThreads launch, Columbia will donate $1 for every pound of clothing collected at its stores till September 10, 2017. Also, for the first month of the national programme, Columbia will make a financial contribution to a non-profit organisation for every pound of clothing that is recycled and kept out of landfills. Participants in the programme will be given a token once they drop off their gently used items and can use that token to place their vote for one of the participating non-profits namely American Hiking Society, National Park Foundation and Children and Nature Network.
“Protecting the environment by recycling materials that hikers use is essential for the next generation to explore the places we all love to hike,” explained American Hiking Society executive director Dr Kate Van Waes. "Columbia Sportswear and American Hiking Society have partnered for over 10 years, and we are excited to collaborate on the Rethreads programme." (RR)
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