We live in a culture where replacement is king. We routinely fix big-ticket items, like cars and washing machines, but primarily it’s easier and cheaper to go buy something new.
A lot of sustainability efforts are being made by fashion brands that tend to focus on cleaning up their supply chains. These endeavors are certainly positive, but that’s just the first part of a garment’s life cycle. After a garment is purchased and tossed away, it often ends up in a landfill.
In fact, about 10.5 million tons of clothing head to landfills in the US each year.
The concept of recycling your clothing is a huge trend right now among well-known brands. From retailers such as J.Crew, Aéropostale, Target, H&M, Madewell, and Patagonia, G-Star Raw Jeans, Levi’s, American Eagle, Neiman Marcus, North Face and Reformation – are all rolling out it’s in store collection program and offering rewards to do so.
H&M may have been an early pioneer in landfill-avoiding incentive programs, but these days it is far from the only brand trying to offset its environmental impact and cater to an increasingly eco-sensitive customer at the same time.
In an era where consumers are demanding that companies do more, textile and recycling programs prove retailers and brands are taking part in this subject matter — and not just passing responsibility for dealing with the billions of pounds of landfilled clothing on to others.
And then there’s the challenge of getting people to think of recycling clothes the way they do other products. Levi’s offers customers a voucher for 20% off a purchase if they recycle old clothing, a decision skeptics might point to as just a way to get people shopping.
But, either way it’s a great start!