Press Releases

Patagonia Wants Your Underwear…And Much More!

Patagonia announces major expansion of Common Threads Recycling Program - and becomes first company in the world to recycle its competitors' garments.

VENTURA, Calif. (Jan 31, 2007) – Patagonia, Inc., the outdoor gear and apparel company, announced today the expansion of the Common Threads Recycling Program. This revolutionary program, which initially asked customers to return worn out Capilene baselayers, also known as long underwear, to Patagonia, has expanded to include the collection of used Polartec-branded garments by Patagonia or any other company, and Patagonia cotton tee shirts. With this ground-breaking expansion, these worn-out items will feed Patagonia’s own supply chain to make new clothing. With the expansion of this recycling program, Patagonia becomes the first global company in the world to recycle competitors’ garments.

In the spirit of spreading the garment recycling word, Patagonia has created a hilarious short film about the Common Threads Recycling Program. The video stars Patagonia’s Ambassador, Timmy O’Neill – a well-known rock climber and comedian. The video can be viewed at

“Our goal is to assume full responsibility for our products, as well as our competitors’ products, at the end of their useful life,” notes Patagonia president and CEO, Casey Sheahan, “We hope to expand the world view of recycling beyond just aluminum cans, newspapers and bottles – we’re aiming to make clothing a recyclable resource.”

Effective January 29, 2007, customers may return any company’s worn-out Polartec-branded garments, Patagonia fleece, Patagonia cotton tees and Capilene long underwear to Patagonia, via mail or at any of the 20 Patagonia retail stores nationwide. In Fall 2007, almost one third of the company’s garments will be recyclable through the newly expanded take-back recycling program.

Since the launch of the Common Threads Recycling Program in September 2005, Patagonia has collected over 1000 pounds of used Capilene baselayers to be recycled into new garments. The company’s goal of taking responsibility for their products has not only diverted over 1000 pounds of garments from landfills and incineration, but has decreased Patagonia’s reliance on virgin resources such as petroleum.

With the addition of competitor’s Polartec-branded garments, Patagonia fleece and Patagonia cotton tees – the company is truly expanding on the concept of recycling.

“With the expansion of our Common Threads Recycling Program we’ll effectively be recycling our competitors’ garments into Patagonia clothing,” noted Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s vice president of environmental initiatives, ”what a unique, environmentally-sensitive way to supply our own supply chain!”

Research shows that the environmental impact of using worn-out fleece and polyester garments to make new fiber is significantly lower than making that same fiber from virgin materials. Making new polyester fiber from used garments, which have been mailed from customers to Patagonia, results in an energy savings of 76 percent and a CO2 emissions [greenhouse gasses] reduction of 71 percent, versus creating that fiber from new raw material.

Just as Patagonia pioneered the use of recycled soda bottles in fleece and was the first company in the outdoor industry to switch to 100% organic cotton, the company aims to pave the way for others to get on the garment recycling bandwagon. For more information, visit
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About Patagonia
Patagonia is noted internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism. Its Environmental Grants Program has contributed over $26M to grassroots environmental activists since the program began in 1985, and its Environmental Internship Program allows employees to work for environmental groups while receiving their full paycheck. Since 1996, Patagonia has used only organically grown cotton in its clothing line, and is noted world-wide for using recycled soda bottles in many of its polyester fleece garments beginning in 1993. Sales for 2005 were $260 million.

Media Contacts:

Jen Rapp, Patagonia
(805) 667-4768
Coley Glasgow, Patagonia
(805) 667-4878