Kit 'churn' examined
This article on the Grough examines the rate at which we seem to get though kit these days. Most of us would probably admit to replacing kit before it’s natural lifespan is through and the average dedicated runner’s wardrobe is pretty full these days…
The article is aimed at the walker / hiker fraternity, but the principles are the same for all of us who get out there into the outdoors. Founder of the Expore RED (Re-use, Explore, Discover) project is Don Gladstone, who has a jacket that is still serving him very well after 13 years of use, states:
“It takes little imagination to realise the amount of used outdoor sports products in wardrobes, lofts and garages. The majority of these items still retain a great deal of the comfort and performance they originally provided their owners. Indeed, many of these items will provide the exact same comfort and performance as they did when first purchased.”
“At best this category of product is barely worn and at worst it is discarded and can potentially be disposed of in landfill. In the last five years there have been numerous cases of companies being paid by councils to recycle unwanted clothing only for it to be found in landfill sites as far away as Indonesia”.
“The Explore Red initiative will seek to raise public awareness of the many advantages of reusing discarded outdoor products.”.
Of course many runners are more careful with their kit and by buying good quality products in the first place we can extend the lifespan of shoes and apparel. Similarly, new purchases are the lifeblood of brands and the churn of product purchases keep the running and outdoor industry alive. So, looking at extending the life of kit and being more frugal with the earth’s resources is a double-edged sword.
Equally runners should be especially aware that extending shoes (in particular) beyond their natural life can result in poor performance and possible injury issues. (A lack of grip after wear, and degraded EVA in the midsole, etc.)
Overall, it’s an interesting initiative and anything that helps our world and provokes thought can’t be a bad thing, so interesting is the project that the University of Leeds are carrying out an 24 month study on these habits and Lancaster University is looking at “potential charity partnerships, consumer buying habits and potential trade partnerships for a scheme re-using discarded gear.”
More can be found on the Explore RED website