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To apply some of the ideas on this site to the real world, the next time you go gear shopping, think about the following questions:
A lot of people and resources, across the globe, have been involved in making it. You’ve worked hard for the cash in your pocket. Why waste all this effort just to have something hanging in the back of a cupboard?
If it’s an animal product, is there any information
on how the animals were treated?
Organic fabrics will be certified, probably by the Soil Association or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).
Is it made from recycled materials?
Bluesign certification covers health and safety and environmental management systems throughout the textile production process.
What does the country of origin label say?
Is there any more information about the production process?
Does the brand have a labour policy in place?
Fair Trade certification means that the farmers are paid a fair price for their crops. In this context we are probably talking about cotton. Currently the Fairtrade certification only applies to the farmer, but the Fairtrade Foundation are working to implement this throughout the supply chain.
Is going to stand up to wear and tear, or will it be ruined after a few outings? How will it last?
Is there an aftercare service?
Is it going to be ruined if it gets ripped or can it be repaired without affecting performance?
If your old waterproofs are still wearable, take them to Oxfam. They have a partnership with Granger’s, the aftercare company, who will clean and reproof them before they are sent back to Oxfam to be sold.
You can donate various types of old garments to Patagonia, who will recycle them.
There was a Gore-Tex recycling scheme implemented in the early nineties but it was abandoned, apparently due to lack of customer interest. While many of us hang on to our old stuff, particularly if it was expensive, somewhere there must be an awful lot of stuff still going into the bin. Over 900 000 items of clothing are thrown away in the UK every year.
The technology exists to recycle things. If you’re told your garment can’t be recycled, ask why.