Recycle your outdoor gear and kit - and let it walk again!
It's easy to accumulate (and then forget) walking gear that for whatever reason you don't use that much any more. And, of course, the marketing messages from the big brands encourage the constant buying of the 'latest' technology or new season's look - as is the case in almost every other sector.
But interestingly the outdoor industry - or parts of it - has in recent years seem to be embracing a somewhat different approach.
Yes - many brands have been keen to show us that they've developed 'greener' processes and procedures right through their supply chain. 'Green' credentials have clearly been identified as a valuable marketing asset. But more recently, we've seen initiatives that seem to fly in the face of normal retailing practice - a move away from the 'sell more .. and then yet more' model to one that encourages recycling and yes even 'repair & reuse'.
Patagonia, a brand long associated with a high level of environmental awareness, has its ' Common Threads' initiative which has as its mantra 'Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle'. In this, recycling is the last stage in an approach designed to encourage (by providing information and a service) repair and reuse.
Sara Rowcroft, who was a cofounder of Rohan, has recently launched the Recycle Outdoor Gear service (ROG).
The free service allows individuals or registered charities to advertise outdoor gear they want to swap, sell, donate or buy. There's also a blog that has a growing collection of stories from individuals who've recycled used outdoor gear and from companies and charities who recycle and reuse this outdoor clothing.
ROG is supported and endorsed by the UK Outdoor Industries Association as outlined by the Chief Executive Andrew Denton.
"The Outdoor Industries Association welcomes, endorses and supports the launch of the 'Recycle Outdoor Gear' website."
"We are the not-for-profit trade body that represent the Outdoors trade in the UK and as a group we are committed to improving the overall ecological and environmental impact of our industry. As well as being members of the European Outdoor Group, the Conservation Association and EOG Sustainability Working Group, we are actively working to find ways to provide leadership example for sustainability in the UK Outdoor trade."
"The ROG website ensures our members and our members' customers can make an active impact on the amount of Outdoor product wasted or discarded, ensures best practice in repair, exchange and donation and will directly lead to less waste and better use of equipment's life-time value."
It's early days for ROG - but it certainly seems like an initiative worth supporting.
NB. Once go4awalk.com has finished with the gear supplied to us for testing, we donate it to Hayfield's Help 2000 annual charity auction and local Girl Guide units so it can live and walk again.
The views expressed by contributors to this discussion are not necessarily those held by go4awalk.com.