words by Dr Cath Flitcroft
The most sustainable product is the product you already own. We've pulled together a list of retailers and organisations who can help you re-use, repair or recycle your old or unwanted clothing and outdoor kit.
Textile waste is a global issue that brands are increasingly required to take responsibility for so now there are more and more opportunities to help us reduce this waste and repair or dispose of our old kit responsibly.
Outdoor clothing in particular, contains synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester that are made from thin plastic fibres. These man-made substances can have an impact on the environment where they are used so reducing the environmental impact of our products at all stages of their life cycle is essential if we are to reduce our impact.
Recent data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) suggests outerwear made up the bulk of items the public chucked away (37%) followed by shoes (19%).
The most sustainable product is the product you already own. This means keeping it out of landfill and using it for as long as possible before recycling it or donating it to someone who will continue to use it.
Here at the BMC, we have pulled together a list of retailers and organisations who can help us re-use, repair or recycle all of your old or unwanted kit.
Re-use / Donate 🤝
Cotswold Outdoor / Snow+Rock / Runners Need: Recycle My Gear
Drop off bins can be found in stores across the country. They'll take clothes of any quality and brand, home textiles, paired shoes (including climbing shoes) of any quality and brand (best bound together), garments that are ripped, have holes and permanent stains
Outdoor Gear Exchange
Outdoor Kit Exchange
The North Face: Clothes The Loop
Gift Your Gear
Decathlon: Second Life
All Second Life products have been marked in transit or quickly tested by our customers, leaving them with small, superficial scratches. This means they can’t be sold as new, but they’re still in great working order.
Several retailers are part of a scheme where you can donate unwanted clothing to a charity and receive discount vouchers in return, a way to reduce it being thrown away and diverted from landfills. https://regain-app.com/
Blue Bird Exchange
Reclaiming, repairing and redistributing outdoor gear (Edinburgh area)
Outdoor Gear for Good
They take excess inventory of outdoor clothing at no charge, supply approved outdoor-related charities, recycle in the best way that they know, recover value from the best inventory and give all profit to charity.
Outdoor Gear For Good sells donated products from its UK eBay shop, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to conservation charities.
Repair & Clean🧵
Cotswold Outdoor: Repair and Care
Montane Repair Service
In-house repair team help extend the lifetime of your product with a variety of repairs which include; patch and panel repair, stitching repairs, seam re-taping and zip slider repair.
‘Mulch and the Broken Thing’ is an outdoor clothing and kit repair workshop based in Sheffield. Drop your items off at The Climbing Works if you need zip replacements, new baffle panels or cuffs in a jacket, boulder pad repairs, a seat patch in your favourite shorts or long pants, rucksacks, tents, sleeping bags, custom alterations, up-cycling.
Alpkit Repair Station
Patagonia: Worn Wear Tour
Clean and repair service
Lancashire Sports Repairs
Feet First (Derbyshire)
Mulch and the Broken Thing
The Waxed Cotton Workshop
They are piloting a down collection scheme in the UK, trying to close the loop and collecting worn-out down products like old down duvets, pillows, jackets, sleeping bags and more, before giving this valuable material a new lease of life.
Green Peak Gear
Together with Green Peak Gear, Scavenger are on a mission to provide alternatives to sending retired climbing gear to landfill. In many of the climbing centres across the UK, Scavenger have set up collection points where climbers can donate their old gear.
Dirt Bags Climbing
Backpacks and bags made from repurposed canvas tents and outdoor gear.
Hard Hat recycling – Yes Recyling
The scheme is a membership scheme, whereby registered members can send their hard hats directly into a dedicated hard hat recycling facility where they will be destroyed, with all of the plastic being fully recovered and made back into “new” plastic pellets.
- Ensure you follow guidance and instructions on how to look after your kit and keep it clean
- Look for local organisations that collect winter clothing, usually for those who are homeless or new refugees
- Consider contacting your local zoo, they often need old ropes.
GET IN TOUCH
We would like to keep this list as up to date and as complete as possible.
If you know of other useful organisations and retail outlets who are offering a recycling, repair or re-use service, please drop us a line and we’ll add it to the list.