Credit: Franzi Charen for Material Return

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Credit: Franzi Charen for Material Return

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Credit: Franzi Charen for Material Return

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Credit: Franzi Charen for Material Return

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Smartwool pledges 100% circularity by 2030 with aid of Material Return

Posted April 15, 2021


DENVER, Colo. – Smartwool®, makers of Merino wool apparel for active living and a division of VF Outdoor LLC, announced a strategic goal of making all products circular by 2030.


The Smartwool® Second Cut™ Project is designed to give products a “second cut” at life and will help create a more circular supply chain that extends the life of raw materials, presents a new sourcing stream and reduces environmental impact.


The project represents a significant pillar of the brand’s newly defined 10-year social impact goals and will be launching with an Earth Day-timed sock takeback event.


Although awareness around the importance of apparel circularity is growing with consumers, socks are one of the most thrown-away pieces of apparel – this may in part be due to a lack of understanding – a recent Smartwool® survey uncovered that while over 80% of respondents recycle their used clothing, they don’t engage the same way when it comes to socks as 46% are unaware of how to recycle them, resulting in 91% throwing away more than 1 pair of socks per year.


This contributes to the larger circularity problem with textiles as a whole, which contributes about 11.3 tons of waste to landfills each year. Given there is a gap in recycling textile articles like socks, and more than 97% of consumers are interested in recycling them, Smartwool® developed a way to move the needle towards a more circular economy, starting with socks.


“Through our research, we realized that consumers want to be more sustainable and recycle their socks, but don’t currently have the resources to be a part of the solution,” said Alicia Chin, senior manager sustainability and social impact at Smartwool®. “We are deeply invested in providing consumers with simple recycling solutions that make a difference towards a happier, healthier planet. While our goal is to reach total circularity across our product portfolio, there is obviously an urgent need for a recycling solution in the sock category, which is where we’re focusing our initial efforts.”


Smartwool® is partnering with Material Return, a platform for custom circularity, on the Second Cut Project sock take back event. Starting on April 21, Smartwool® will collect used socks from any brand at specialty retailers nationwide and online. These initial donations will be repurposed into a filling for dog beds, which will be available for purchase at during the 2021 holiday season.


“We’re excited to work with a brand like Smartwool® that exemplifies the same environmental values as we do,” said Molly Hemstreet, co-executive director at Material Return. “We also want to thank all our manufacturing partners who helped make it possible – especially the Carolina Textile District and Diamond Brand Gear. Through the Smartwool® Second Cut™ Project sock take back event, we’re giving consumers an opportunity to support both environmental sustainability and innovative labor practices.”


Consumers can get involved in the Smartwool® Second Cut™ Project sock take back event in two ways:


  1. Consumers can drop off their unwanted (but clean) socks in marked bins at participating retailers … from April 21 through May 2. For a list of participating retailers, click here.


  1. From April 21 and beyond, when making any purchase at customers can opt in at checkout to receive a pre-paid postage bag to send in any socks they wish to recycle.


To learn more about Smartwool’s® 10-year roadmap towards becoming climate positive through regenerative materials and circularity and cultivating a true feeling of belonging in the outdoors, visit Smartwool’s® What Matters Hub.


Source: Smartwool

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