Waste is a growing problem; there is no doubt about it. Our economies actually encourage people to throw products away – just to buy and consume more. This way of doing things is what designers call a linear model. Products are bought, used, and eventually thrown away. Never to be seen or used again.
Environmentalists are raising concerns that this way of doing things is not sustainable and is putting a huge strain on our environment. Take for example all the plastic that finds its way to our oceans. Studies have found that there is close to 80,000 tons of plastic waste floating around the pacific ocean. Not an ideal situation for our friends in the sea.
Plastics are one thing but the textile industry waste might be even worse. Every year 85% of textiles produced ends up in landfills. The EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste each year. This only accounts for approximately 15% of the industry over all production.
To do their part in addressing the textile industry waste issue The North Face, an American outdoor apparel company, is launching a new initiative around recycled and refurbished products. They are calling it “The North Face Renewed”.
The North Face Renewed will feature a collection of refurbished clothing brought back to original quality for resale. The products will be sourced from returns or defective items and sold on at a discount online exclusively at their online portal.
“It’s the great quality and performance you expect from The North Face with less impact on the earth.”
-The North Face
Similarly, another outdoor appeal company already has similar initiatives underway. Patagonia sells refurbished clothing through an online store, as well. So this by no means is a revolutionary concept. Moreover, It’s already possible to find used North Face products on online. But the company hopes that this initiative will begin to shift how their customers shop.
Strategies like this by The North Face outline a larger theme being explored by firms to design more sustainable business models. Business models that can accomplish a dual goal of reducing overall environmental impact while also bringing down supply costs for these firms. Because let’s be honest. At the end of the day if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.