The North Face has announced a new initiative aimed at reducing the amount of clothing and footwear going to landfills.
The “Clothes the Loop” recycling program is designed to extend the lifecycle of apparel and footwear by collecting discarded items and either reusing or reverting them to basic materials for use in manufacturing.
The company has placed specially marked bins in 10 of its stores across the country, including Chicago, New York and San Francisco. The program accepts used clothing and footwear from any brand, even those in poor condition, and can include anything from t-shirts and beanies to hiking boots and sandals. In return, participants will receive coupons for future purchases at The North Face stores.
“We’ve always been dedicated to building products that last, allowing people to depend on our products and minimize the need to buy more,” said Adam Mott, The North Face Corporate Sustainability Manager. “Our partnership with I:CO takes our commitment to reducing waste even further by providing our customers with an alternative end for products they no longer want or need, keeping these items from landfills and protecting our natural playgrounds.”
The North Face has partnered with I:CO USA, which will sort the collections at its recycling centers and organize items into more than 400 categories to determine which can be resold or recycled into raw materials such as insulation, carpet padding and stuffing for toys. The North Face will donate any proceeds accrued through the Clothes the Loop pilot to The Conservation Alliance, which funds community-based campaigns to protect outdoor areas for their habitat and recreation values.
“I:CO’s goal is to create an endless loop of material reprocessing by giving used clothing and shoes a new life,” said Stephan Wiegand, CEO of I:CO. “This helps reduce waste and save precious natural resources. By making it easy and rewarding to bring in these unwanted items, The North Face Clothes the Loop Program empowers consumers to get involved and make a difference.”
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated roughly 22 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste ends up in landfills.
H&M recently launched a similar clothing collection initiative with I:CO, giving customers vouchers for donated garments at select stores in 48 of its global markets in hopes of creating a closed loop for textile fibers.