In the past few months, we have seen the great effect our daily lives have on our surroundings. With lockdowns around the world, air pollution levels plunged.

Worldwide quarantines have also made us realise just how important the outdoors is to our wellbeing, with many of us taking to nature for exercise and to get a much-needed mental reset. Over these past months, the outdoor industry has been seeing a sales boom in cycling, camping, and other outdoor equipment. With the closure of the regular crowd-pullers like restaurants, bars, cinemas and exhibition centres, people have been substituting nights out with friends with a road trip out into nature, a hiking expedition, or a cycle ride around the countryside.

The clothing industry and sustainability

The general (fashion) clothing industry’s lack of accountability in regard to its environmental impact has been well known for a while now. The industry has come under fire for issues such as: mass-production in questionable working environments; “fast fashion” or the extreme speed of changing trends resulting in huge amounts of production waste; to almost a complete disregard of the industry’s impact on the environment of some production processes such as leather tanning.

Although some fashion brands have started making changes to include a wider range of sustainable options in their lines, it is only the very first step in tackling the global problem of sustainability.

When it comes to the outdoor industry, a slightly different narrative plays out, and many appear to be pioneering recycling technologies. Well-known brands like PatagoniaMontaneThe North Face and others have had environmental preservation as one of their business goals from the early days.

Some of the major outdoor brands are reassuringly committed to the issue of recycling, from using recycled rubber for the soles of walking boots to non-toxic aftercare products to increase clothing longevity, money-back recycling schemes and fabrics for outdoor-wear produced from recycled waste streams.

Outdoor brands leading the way in sustainability and recycling

And it’s not just fabrics being targeted for recycling.

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