This month's green goal is directly tied to the goals of a company I love. Patagonia, at the risk of losing profit, encourages its customers to join in their Common Threads Initiative, which asks Patagonia wearers to reduce their consumption by repairing, reusing, and finally recycling their clothing.
Patagonia promotes a more sustainable outlook towards clothing and human consumption in general. So while I might REALLLLY like a new fleece pullover (in bougainvillea), Patagonia actually wants me to keep using my old fleece from 1990 that I bought at a thrift store (bonus points for me) instead of buying a new one. They actually write on their website, "we ask our customers not to buy from us what you don’t need or can’t really use. " How philanthropic of them! Can you think of any other company asking its customers NOT to buy its products? How often are we bombarded with media telling us we need more, more, more? How much do we really need? The whole need vs want thing is a constant struggle for me.
Patagonia promises to do their part by producing long-lasting clothes and offering to repair those clothes that do need it within 10 business days. Furthermore, clothes that you no longer need, like if you gave up skiing for example (gasp!), you should sell or donate to those who do need them. Instead of throwing away that astounding SIXTY-EIGHT pounds of clothing (see image above)! And if you really have made good on your promise and worn your Patagonia gear down to its very last thread? Send it into Patagonia and they will turn it into new fabric or fiber for future use.
The statistics given on the website are astounding. It's honestly disgusting how much clothing (not to mention food and everything else) Americans throw away without any thought to the consequences of their actions. I have been thinking about cleaning out my closets and getting rid of whatever I really don't wear. These statistics have made me think twice about what I will do with that clothing when I'm done - whether I repurpose it (remember these reusable produce bags?) or donate it to a Salvation Army - I'm certainly not going to just throw it away. I applaud Patagonia for encouraging its customers to think about their actions, even if these policies could cause a drop in their sales.
I joined the Initiative. And you should, too.
All images via Patagonia