Why Repair and Reuse Beats Recycle

Why Repair and Reuse Beats Recycle

By Alex Guerrero

100 billion clothing items are made annually, harming the environment. Keeping gear longer reduces impact and helps the planet

100 billion items of clothing are made every year for 8 billion people. The globalisation of the clothing industry is wreaking havoc on our environment. Keeping our gear longer is the most effective way to reduce your impact.

There’s joy in passing on a well-loved piece of outdoor gear to the next generation. Giving the unloved gear stuck in the back of our wardrobe, a new lease of life. Thrift is the antidote to consumerism.

We had a chat with Alpkit co-founder and Continuum Champion, Col.

Tell us about Continuum

Col Stocker, Alpkit co-founder selfie outdoors

Continuum started in 2017 after our customer services manager's epiphany - get second-hand outdoor clothing and equipment to people who need it. Simple but life-changing.

It’s pretty straightforward: use our standard free returns service to get second-hand gear (from any brand!) to us or drop it off at one of our stores. We’ll then pass it on to someone who needs it through our network of charitable partners straight-away – our stores also support local projects and charities.

What's been the impact?

Our customer response has been tremendous. So far, we've collected over 8 tonnes of gear. That's the equivalent of about 16 full stores worth of lovely outdoor products!

We're quick - within days of the earthquake, we had a supply line set up for customers to send sleeping bags to victims in Syria and Turkey.

Continuum has also extended to include old down and wetsuits that aren't usable anymore. With ReDown and Circular Flow, we can turn them into raw materials to make new down jackets and neoprene products.

What have been the highlights?

t's been a joy to see how our customer's unused clothing is helping people get outside. And a pleasure to work with the heroes who set up and run grassroots direct-action projects that make a real difference to the lives of the people they work with.

Stories from our Continuum heroes

Mir Jansen set up Peak District New Beginnings

to help Sheffield refugees and asylum seekers. They face so much hostility, and it has been wonderful to experience the positive effect of time spent outdoors with them. The Peak District is a short train ride from Sheffield city centre. It has been made accessible to refugees and asylum seekers thanks to gifted outdoor clothing from our customers through Continuum.

Aban Outdoors

An Inverness-based charity that gives young people and families in need uplifting outdoor adventures. Their instructors wear gifted outdoor clothing from our customers. It's important to the charity that instructors wear regular, well-used clothes rather than expensive premium mountain clothing to reinforce that the outdoors is free for everyone.

How can I get involved?

Have a good old clear out - getting deep into your wardrobes and gear cupboard and gift any unwanted gear. Reusing is great.

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