“Recycling is what we do when we're out of options to avoid, repair, or reuse the product first. That's why I am so impressed with Patagonia for starting its Common Threads Initiative with the real solution: Reduce. Don't buy what we don't need. Repair: Fix stuff that still has life in it. Reuse: Share. Then, only when you've exhausted those options, recycle.” –Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuff
In the 18th century Lancashire's cotton mills and the budding clothing trade helped fuel the Industrial Revolution and create the modern economy. Now it's time to reverse the engines – to help create the next, more sustainable economy. Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of our Common Threads Initiative: a partnership between our customers, eBay and Patagonia to make, buy and use clothes more sustainably, with the ultimate aim of keeping the clothes we sell from ever reaching the landfill.
The Common Threads Initiative extends and builds on what we've learned from our original Common Threads Garment Recycling Program, whose ambitious goal was to make all Patagonia clothes recyclable within five years. Since the launch of the original program in 2005, we’ve taken back 45 tons of clothing for recycling and made 34 tons into new clothes – thanks to our customers who have become partners.
As Annie Leonard said above, recycling is the very last step of a product’s overall lifecycle – when it’s so worn out it no longer functions properly – and the new Common Threads Initiative expands on what we’ll take back for recycling. But, more importantly, it will also help you keep your Patagonia garments functioning for as long as possible and, perhaps, even keep you from buying them at all. You helped us make the original Common Threads program a success and now we’re asking you to join us once again by taking the Common Threads Pledge to reduce unnecessary consumption. Let’s see how it works.
We make useful gear that lasts a long time. You don’t buy what you don’t need.
We design and sell things made to last and to be useful. But we ask our customers not to buy from us what you don’t need or can’t really use. By taking the Common Threads Pledge, you “agree to buy only what I need (and will last).” Everything we make – everything anyone makes – costs the planet more life than it gives back. The biggest, first step we can all take to reduce our impact is to do more with what we have and take good care of it.
We help you repair your Patagonia gear. You pledge to fix what’s broken.
If a zipper fails, have it fixed, especially if the garment has a lot of life in it. For our part, we should make clothes that wear out as evenly as possible and repair quickly what you send back to us to be fixed. Our new policy is to get repairs unpacked, done and back in the mail to you within 10 business days. We pay for repairs that we’re responsible for and charge a fair price for repairs due to normal wear and tear.
We help find a home for Patagonia gear you no longer need. You sell or pass it on to someone who needs it.
Nothing wearable should be hoarded; useful things should be in circulation. The Common Threads Pledge asks you to reuse what you no longer need, whether you’ve given up climbing or no longer wear brown. Donate unused clothes to a charity or sell them through the new Patagonia Common Threads Initiative storefront on eBay. When you take the pledge and join the Common Threads Initiative, the used Patagonia clothing and gear you list on eBay will also be eligible for listing in the new Used Clothing & Gear section on Patagonia.com (eBay handles the purchase). Patagonia will not receive any of the profits associated with the buying or selling of used garments.
We will take back your Patagonia gear that is worn out. You pledge to keep it out of landfills.
Everything natural or manufactured comes to the end of its life. Everything natural gives life to something new, so should the things we make. As of today – one year behind schedule – anything you’ve ever bought from Patagonia that’s finally worn-out, you can return to us, so that we can recycle it into new fiber or fabric (or repurpose what can’t yet be recycled). There are no longer any restrictions on what Patagonia products you can return to us for recycling, and it’s still as easy as dropping the items off at your local Patagonia Retail Store or sending them to our Reno Service Center.
Together we reimagine a world where we take only what the planet can replace.
Two-thirds of our economy is based on the purchase of consumer goods. But to blindly purchase what’s good neither for the planet nor ourselves to keep the game going is the very definition of unsustainability. Let’s buy what’s healthy and useful; let’s stay away from what we don’t need and what causes unnecessary harm. Every action we take together to protect the land and waters we love adds to our knowledge and confidence that we can reimagine, then help bring about, a sustainable world for those who come after us.
We’ll talk more about the new Common Threads Initiative in the coming weeks. For now, head over to Patagonia.com or eBay and take the Common Threads Pledge. Help us reach our goal of 50,000 pledges per year and gain the satisfaction that you’re doing the right thing for the planet. Together we can reduce our environmental footprint.