Reparieren statt Wegschmeissen – Das Patagonia Worn Wear Programm

REPAIR INSTEAD OF THROWING AWAY – THE PATAGONIA WORN WEAR PROGRAMME

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Patagonia on tour. Patagonia’s approach to environmental protection is very simple: good quality, care and repairs promote the longevity of the products.

How can we as people, as customers and consumers reduce the production of emissions, waste and wastewater? How can we conserve resources and minimise the pollution and destruction of our environment?

The answers to these questions are diverse, sometimes very complex and interconnected: Expansion of regenerative energy production, efficient filter technologies, intelligent traffic concepts and legal frameworks that set limits for pollutants are only a fraction of all measures.

However, the Californian outdoor and mountain sports company Patagonia is taking a completely different approach to environmental protection. Most citizens have little influence on the setting of legal benchmarks or the construction of a wind farm to generate electricity.

As consumers and customers in a “throwaway society”, however, their actions are directly linked to environmental protection and destruction. This means quite simply: those who buy a lot and throw a lot away and then buy new again, destroy the environment to a greater extent.

There are two solutions to break this “waste spiral”: either not to buy anything anymore, which is probably impossible in daily practice, or to use the things you buy for as long as possible. This in turn means that the goods you buy should be durable, long-lasting and of high quality. In order to be able to use them for a long time, they have to be easy to maintain and repair.

THE REDISCOVERY OF REPAIR IN THE PATAGONIA WORN WEAR PROGRAM

During the repair tour, professional Patagonia employees use mobile industrial sewing machines to make free repairs to damaged outdoor clothing.

No one would throw a car in the scrap press because of a flat tyre. With a broken zip on a rain jacket, many buyers quickly decide in favour of buying a new one. And this is exactly where Patagonia comes in with its Worn Wear Program to repair functional textiles instead of throwing them away.

Since Patagonia makes outdoor clothing and not kitchen machines or lawn mowers, the focus of the program is on their functional textiles. Patagonia’s basic approach, however, goes far beyond their own nose – the idea of repairing is to gain a new foothold in all areas of people’s lives. The first question when dealing with a broken item should therefore not be “where can I get a new one?”, but “how can this be repaired?”.

In order to extend the life of Patagonia products and reduce the ecological footprint of each individual, the makers of Patagonia have launched the Worn Wear Program. This is not primarily about the most environmentally friendly production possible and the use of recycled raw materials (this plays an elementary role at Patagonia anyway), but concretely about the repair of damaged Patagonia articles.

Over 45 permanent employees repair more than 30,000 jackets, backpacks and trousers in North America alone. In Europe, a repair tour takes place every year, where Patagonia employees use mobile industrial sewing machines to carry out free repairs on damaged outdoor clothing. The brand of the broken rain jackets and trekking trousers doesn’t matter, by the way.

The repair events are of course also a good opportunity to draw attention to the Worn Wear Project, to give care tips and repair advice and to exchange ideas with other outdoor enthusiasts. That’s why the events always take place in cooperation with local outdoor retailers or climbing gyms and are spread across Europe so that as many customers as possible can take advantage of the service.

If, on the other hand, you only want to have your seam or button repaired, you can simply contact the Patagonia repair service, which has its own branch in Portugal for customers in Europe. However, it often helps to ask at the nearest Patagonia retailer first, as many are specially trained to carry out minor repairs and can repair small damages directly on site.

REPAIR DAMAGED OUTDOOR CLOTHING YOURSELF

Many repairs are not that difficult to carry out. Patagonia’s Worn Wear program shows how easy it can be to repair outdoor clothing.

Many repairs to torn seams or slashed sleeves aren’t that hard to do – if you know how. That’s why Patagonia’s Worn Wear program offers valuable advice, tips and tutorials for common repairs that anyone can do themselves with simple tools.

This includes, for example, simple instructions on how to sew a torn shirt, how to replace a drawstring in a jacket hem or how to replace a wheel on your rolling suitcase. With precise care instructions, Patagonia also ensures a long life for outdoor textiles. Optimal waterproofing is just as much a part of this as tips on the ideal use of irons and detergents.

RE-USE AND RECYCLING IN THE WORN WEAR PROGRAM

In North America, owners of Patagonia apparel in good condition or repairable can sell their used jackets and trousers back to Patagonia. The merchandise is then inspected, repaired if necessary, and in any case thoroughly cleaned. Afterwards, the items can be bought again by other customers in the Worn Wear online shop. They in turn are welcome to sell their second-hand textiles back to the second-hand online store for some time, and so on, and so on,… – until at some point the point is actually reached where repair no longer makes sense or in some cases is simply no longer possible.

But even then, a Patagonia product won’t just end up in a landfill. Instead, all Patagonia items can be dropped off at the appropriate retailers or at Patagonia directly for recycling.

Already in the design and selection of materials, the creative developers at Patagonia consider the easiest possible recyclability of their products. This means, for example, that an old and totally tattered fleece jumper can be turned into a brand new fleece.

Recycling is of course not a completely new topic, but the difference to other companies is that Patagonia actually recycles its own goods in its recycling process and does not pass them on and makes new items from other recycled material.

Thank you Patagonia. The raw material savings that result from the program are gigantic.

It is impossible to calculate exactly how many tonnes of raw materials, how much energy and how many cubic metres of water have already been saved through the Worn Wear Program. The repair of several hundred thousand products in the repair centres alone, which have not ended up in the rubbish as a result, adds up to a gigantic volume.

Through the public relations work and the appeal of the Worn Wear Program to awaken the desire to repair, the whole thing goes far beyond the scope of outdoor textiles and mountain sportswear. With every person that Patagonia can open their eyes a little with its Worn Wear Program and help change their perspective on the “throwaway society”, the committed Californians are a big step closer to their goal of minimising our collective ecological footprint on the earth.

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