The Recycle Us Program: Explained

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       Hello again, Matt here! Things are going well here as we move into the third month of sales. It has been a very positive start and after receiving some questions from you, we wanted to take a minute to give you all a description of our flagship program: Recycle Us. But first, a few disclaimers. As young founders of a company, we do not know everything. We have a passion for learning, for the environment, and for making quality products. We feel that these qualities will position us to lead the industry in sustainability measures and initiatives very soon. As a current senior in my undergraduate degree, I am looking to remain at Clarkson University for a graduate degree. I will be studying for a MS in Environmental Science and Engineering, where I will have the privilege to work with faculty members who have experience in sustainable product development and cradle-to-cradle design processes. Through the assistance of these professors, my goal of making TerrApparel the first Cradle-to-Cradle certified outerwear company is not far away. I have enough background knowledge to answer some of the main questions, but forgive me if I do not answer all the questions you may have yet. As the Recycle Us Program develops, so will our available information and content on it. Now, to what the program is in its most simple form.

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       The Recycle Us Program is the core of TerrApparel’s goal of being the leader in closed-loop performance clothing. When I came up with the idea for TerrApparel, it was because I was sick and tired of trying to find a life for my worn out and unusable performance wear. After all, there are only so many times you can patch a waterproof jacket before it becomes more patch than original jacket. So, I decided that I would do whatever it takes to design, create, and manage performance clothing that would never see a landfill.

       For some, this description may be enough, but for others who follow sustainable clothing, they know that Patagonia has the Worn Wear program. This program repairs, refurbishes, and in extreme instances, recycles their old clothing as well. And you may have connected the dots to say, the Recycle Us program sounds a lot like that. Personally, I think Patagonia is a great brand, and I am honored to compete in the same industry with other companies so dedicated to protecting the environment. Where TerrApparel looks to differentiate itself is in the recycling of our products. Not only are we committed to recycling all of our products, but we are committed to using 100% polyester in our performance garments, a fabric that is more economical and environmentally friendly to recycle. Nylon, the other most popular performance fiber, can be recycled, but requires a chemical recycling process due to its relatively low melting point. By using only polyester, we can commit to a more eco-friendly product from start to finish and back to start. This is our vision and our goal.

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       Now the next line of questioning usually goes towards performance. “Will the polyester fabrics be as waterproof as the nylon fabrics?” The short answer to this question is yes. There is a misconception about polyester and its properties. Polyester is known to be naturally hydrophobic (able to repel water), but easier to tear. Nylon, while much more difficult to rip or tear, is naturally hydrophillic, or absorbent of water. This is why your rain jacket usually stops working after a couple good days in the rain. So the reason most people think nylon is more waterproof, is becuase it is less prone to tearing or ripping. We estimate that, depending on the user, our choice to use polyester still increases overall lifetime of our waterproof garments compared to nylon. Especially with new developments in sustainable laminate solutions, we are able to provide a fully recyclable, fully waterproof line of performance garments including our upcoming Guardian Rain Jacket. We did try to mitigate this risk further by using a robust and more effective 3 layer fabric compared to most rain gear which is 2 or 2.5 layer. Where we may miss out on durability, we more than make up for in sustainability. 

       Finally, there is the customer rebate to discuss. The Recycle Us customer rebate is a tiered buy-back program, where you get an increasing discount for every garment you return to TerrApparel for refurbishment or recycling. Consider it like a bottle deposit on your performance wear, but with a weighted system. The structure is found below:

1 item returned: 10% off next purchase

2 items returned: 15% off next purchase

3 items returned: 20% off next purchase

4+ items returned: 25% off next purchase

       Our goal is to see 90-95% participation rates across all product categories for the program. With your help, we can ensure that TerrApparel provides sustainable clothing with the smallest possible impact on the environment. After all, we want you to enjoy the outdoors without hurting it. I hope this post answered some of your questions, and as I said earlier, as we develop the program more, we will continue to post more content on it. After all, we want our customers to know exactly what we are doing with the products you use. With that being said, if you have any questions on the Recycle Us Program that I did not answer, or any general questions about our products, do not hesitate to email me at matt@terrapparel.co, or call me at (860) 558-1663.

 

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