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Written by : Arianne Dufour


It’s Earth Month, which means awareness surrounding climate change is at an all time high. At POW Canada, this is our day to day mission, but April remains a very important month for us, because it’s when everyone is a little bit more engaged in the conversation.

At POW Canada, our mission is to unite the outdoor community on climate issues in our country and advocate for policy solutions to climate change. Global problems hit locally, and when it comes to the climate crisis, Canada’s outdoor community is on the frontlines. We work hard throughout the year to identify and act on national climate issues that are directly impacting our community, we educate our people to understand what is at stake and we are advocating for policy solutions.

We acknowledge that the outdoor community is not perfect. We are not perfect. And we’re not asking anyone to be perfect. For us, Progress Over Perfection is our mantra. And we work hard to give hope to our community to continue to take action and drive change. Today, I want to give you hope on what is happening in the industry and how brands are working towards net zero goals and circularity. Again, they are not perfect, but could we ask anyone to be?

Every year, 85% of textiles produced end up in landfills. Clothes, shoes, gear. All wasted. But it doesn’t have to be this way forever. Some brands are leading the way and are working behind the scenes to make big changes. To protect what we love. I wanted to give you hope for this Earth Month, by presenting you the great things that are happening with some of our brand partners! I hope this can also help you make better decisions when shopping.



Arc’teryx Rebird Program

What I love about Arc’teryx is that they put a lot of resources and efforts towards their circular program to make sure the product has the longest life possible before it gets recycled. Their ReBIRD™ program is designed for circularity – they repair, resale and upcycle. In three pillars, they cover all of our needs to make the most of our gear.

ReCARE™ focuses on educating the Arc’teryx community about caring for their equipment. We’re talking, washing techniques, fixing zippers and patching tears, amongst other things. We never entirely know how to take care of our gear and we often make mistakes (I certainly do!).

ReGEAR™ is Arc’teryx’s buy back and used gear program. The goal is to keep products in play longer by taking back gear, deconstructing any issues and bringing it back to life. It’s a way of taking products that are like-new, or just lingering in the back of someone’s closet, to its best and finding it a new home!

​​ReCUT™ is where Arc’teryx does its experimental upcycling by giving new life to dead ends. It takes learnings from design testing and workshops to create new products using materials which were beyond functional repair. It’s where Arc’teryx designers can have fun and be creative with the old gear!

If you want to learn more on their 3 programs, head to their page here.



Smartwool Second Cut Project

I don’t know for you, but I always end up losing one sock; ruining a pair, or having a hole at the tip of my big toe. Socks are one of the most discarded pieces of apparel and they eventually find a forever home at landfills. They contribute to the 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases that textile production releases into the atmosphere every year. 

It's a little scary when you say it like that... But the hope for socks is in the Second Cut™ Project that Smartwool launched back in 2021 where they began building systems and experiments with a goal of 100% circularity by 2030!

Through this program, Smartwool is partnering with Material Return™, a circularity platform that collects and deconstructs hard-to-recycle socks and turns them into new goods like dog beds (it’s funny because no one loves old socks more than dogs). It works in 3 easy steps: 1. Gather your old socks 2. Bring them back to a selected store or directly to Smartwool Material Return via the mail 3. Your socks will be recycled into new products. And the cool thing is that they take ANY socks, from ANY brand, in ANY conditions!

You have old socks that you want to get rid of? Head to Smartwool Second Cut Project right here.



The North Face Renewed

I personally LOVE The North Face Renewed collection. It’s not only a good way to repurpose old and broken gear, but the new pieces that are coming out of the repair process are one-of-a-kind pieces and are so rad! The North Face is committed to doing their part to change this by flipping the status quo of how brands make products and how customers can dispose of them more responsibly. Instead of a traditional linear model of shopping, The North Face Renewed has been investing in circularity for a long time now—and gives hard-worn garments a second life.

How does it work? The North Face invites their customers to bring back their used apparel and footwear in exchange for a $10 shopping credit. As part of their commitment to circularity, accepted items will be washed, tuned-up and resold through The North Face Renewed Collection. Brought to life by The North Face Design Residency workshops, the new products are either like-new or reconditioned. And the gear that can't be renewed is upcycled through their REMADE Collection, donated or recycled.

You want to bring your old gear back or you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece that is reconditioned? Head to TNF Renewed right here.



Patagonia Worn Wear

Who loves road trips? Well, if you do, you’re gonna love the Patagonia Worn Wear program and Tour! Worn Wear was created in 2013 as a way to encourage people to take good care of their gear, washing and repairing as needed. The program aims to keep clothing, regardless of brand, in circulation for as long as possible. 

The program invites customers to send back their used Patagonia clothing and gear which they will then help passing it along to the next person who needs it. In exchange, you can get a discount of up to 50% of the resale price through credit to use in store or online at Patagonia or Worn Wear. If the items are not accepted, they still won’t end up in landfills, they will be recycled at Patagonia’s facilities.

On top of that, Patagonia wanted to bring the program close to its community and decided to tour in specific regions. They are bringing repair staff on the road to offer free repairs on busted zippers, rips, tears, buttons, pulls and more – in addition to teaching people how to fix their own gear. How cool is this? The Worn Wear Wagon is a one-of-a-kind custom vehicle, created by artist/surfer Jay Nelson. The mobile repair shop is open to anyone who brings in a garment, regardless of brand. The tour aims to educate visitors about the philosophy behind Patagonia’s Worn Wear program, in addition to offering up some fun with food, drinks and live music.

Want to learn more about the Worn Wear program? Head over here



Hot Poc

The Hot Poc products themselves are the result of a circular process, which I find really inspiring for the future of the current product offering in the outdoor industry. For those who don’t know Hot Poc, it’s an emerging brand from Quebec that sells reusable hand warmers (oh yes, you read that right!) and phone sleepers to keep your hands and devices warm when you’re exploring the outdoors in the cold weather.

Hot Poc hand warmers can be used up to 100 times which is the equivalent of 2kg of charcoal from the traditional disposable hand warmers avoiding the landfill. They were inspired by a technology used in the medical world that they improved and adapted for outdoor use. 

The smartphone sleepers were originally designed to find a solution to keep mobile phones alive in cold weather. As the Hot Poc team was doing some pre-launch market research in Banff, they talked to dozens of skiers, hikers, tourists, and ski shop employees. One employee had this great idea of creating sleepers out of old ski jackets. They wrote this idea down and brought it to life 2 years later! Hot Poc is collaborating with industry brands to reuse their old garments to produce their sleepers, so there is no new material created.

You want to try these new technologies and products? Find them here!




I’m sure you are familiar with gogglesoc, a Whistler-based company,  who has been a partner of Protect Our Winters since our beginnings. This is another brand that offers products coming from a circular process. Apart from having rad designs, what’s really cool about gogglesocs, is that they are also 100% made of post-consumer recycled plastic bottles! 

At gogglesoc, they try to reduce their ecological footprint as much as possible. This is why they make all eyewear accessories out of rPET, a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. They recognise they can't change the world alone, but by making gogglesocs from recycled plastic bottles, they are doing their part to conserve our resources and keep waste out of our landfills. To date, they’ve recycled over 760,000 water bottles.

They didn't stop at making their eyewear accessories out of upcycled materials -  their premium displays are made out of recycled chopsticks! 90,000 chopsticks are thrown away every day in Vancouver alone. That’s why they’ve engineered one-of-a-kind merchandise displays out of recycled chopsticks! To date, they’ve recycled over 2.8 million of chopsticks and turned them into their product displays.

In need of gogglesocs? Head to their website!



PICTURE Rental Program

PICTURE is another brand which is making its way up in the outdoor industry by demonstrating that it is possible to offer quality products that are also eco-friendly. I could list everything they are doing for their product line here, but I wanted to highlight something they do differently than the other industry brands: their rental program.

It’s still at its early stages, but I love the fact that they are trying something new! PICTURE team believes we need to change production and consumption habits. People don't need to buy a new product if they don't plan to use it a lot. And PICTURE should not be manufacturing products that will gather dust in a closet. Think about how many days of skiing / snowboarding / surfing you’ll do this year. If it’s less than 15 days, renting is the best low-carbon option!

In the 2021-22 season, they completed approximately 130 rental orders. Clearly, it's a drop in the bucket compared to what they do in traditional sales. But profits are not the goal here and the excitement surrounding this new rental program was super interesting. The program is currently offered only in Europe, but I hope this will come to North America if it works well!

Want to learn more about their rental program, click here.



Fjällräven Recycling Capsule

Fjällräven also came with a new and creative idea in 2021 to use fabrics that were not used in normal production, due to color variations, limited quantities, and that were left behind at their warehouse. The Samlaren capsule is a collection using advanced fabrics from Fjällräven's factories, combining them into new pieces with a unique design.

What’s really interesting with this collection is that it is completely designed with the fabrics and colors they have in stock. So instead of designing a product with the idea of what they would like to have, they need to rethink their creative process and start with what fabrics/colors they have on hand. This process brings a lot of creativity and one-of-a-kind pieces in the collection, which I love, (I think you know it by now!).

What is now the Samlaren capsule could become a continuous line in the future. But the long-term objective is indeed to eliminate the very need for this concept, minimizing waste and surplus fabric already in production. This process may take some time so in the meantime, they will use Samlaren as a way to turn the surplus, difficult to use fabrics, into successful products.

Shop the Samlaren collection here.




Just last year, Salomon's designers, product developers and R&D experts looked at the production waste around them and wondered what they might be able to create using only these materials that were about to go out in the trash. The goal of their Trash is Gold design exploration was to change the way people look at trash. They got their hands dirty, picking through old materials in the trash bins of the Salomon prototyping center and they let their imagination worked by experimenting what they could create with the materials they collected.

You can see the team’s exploratory work in the recycled ABS sidewalls of the new Salomon Addikt ski range. I like to see brands give the reins to their employees and let them develop their creativity to improve their product line, while making their production line a little more eco-friendly. This allows employees to understand the production line, while bringing in ideas that might not otherwise be developed.

To learn more about their creative process, watch the video here.


I could go on with a longer list, but I encourage all of you to do your own research and learn more about what's going on with your favorite brands and maybe adjust your buying habits!



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