The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit to see what we do.

RSS Feed




    Introducing the Common Threads Initiative - Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine


    “Recycling is what we do when we're out of options to avoid, repair, or reuse the product first. That's why I am so impressed with Patagonia for starting its Common Threads Initiative with the real solution: Reduce. Don't buy what we don't need. Repair: Fix stuff that still has life in it. Reuse: Share. Then, only when you've exhausted those options, recycle.” –Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuff

    In the 18th century Lancashire's cotton mills and the budding clothing trade helped fuel the Industrial Revolution and create the modern economy. Now it's time to reverse the engines – to help create the next, more sustainable economy. Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of our Common Threads Initiative: a partnership between our customers, eBay and Patagonia to make, buy and use clothes more sustainably, with the ultimate aim of keeping the clothes we sell from ever reaching the landfill.

    Continue reading "Introducing the Common Threads Initiative - Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine" »

    By the Numbers: Quantifying Some of Patagonia’s Environmental Initiatives

    Enviro Book 2009_p1 Today we repurpose an easy to digest, numbers-based summary of Patagonia’s environmental work in fiscal year 2009. First published in July in our Environmental Initiatives booklet, we’ve updated it slightly and present it Harper’s Index style. Perfect grist for a blog post, we think you’ll find it chewy but not filling.

    By the Numbers
    Quantifying Some of Patagonia’s Environmental Initiatives

    • Dollars in grants and in-kind donations given by Patagonia to environmental causes since 1985: 35 million
    • Dollars in grants and in-kind donations given by Patagonia in fiscal year 2009: 3,816,750
    • Number of environmental groups that received a grant this year from Patagonia: 398
    • Dollar amount (retail) of clothing Patagonia donated to nonprofit groups this year: 357,000

    Continue reading "By the Numbers: Quantifying Some of Patagonia’s Environmental Initiatives" »

    Fishing Waders Trigger Deep Thoughts About Gear Manufacturing

    Copy (2) of logo_RW_creelhawaiicls Our friends over at Recycled Waders have been hard at work finding new uses for some of Patagonia's most hard-to-recycle items. Fishing waders are complex pieces of gear - neoprene feet, water-proof fabrics treated with water-repellent finishes, stretchy shoulder straps, metal snaps and zippers, each of these items adds a layer of complexity to a process we developed originally to recycle simple base-layer garments. Patagonia's front man for all things pertaining the the environmental impact of our raw materials is Todd Copeland. He's been steering our Common Threads program for a while, and was stoked to share this story with us. It comes via Patrick Jenkins, founder of Recycled Waders, a small family operation that's busy building a successful business on three important pillars: Recycled Materials, Repurposed Products, and Responsible Consumers.  


    Original Action Who would have guessed an errant back cast lodging a 1-0 lead-eye bunny leech in a scraggly black spruce tree on the high bankside of a river mouth full of Alaskan king salmon would have been responsible for the development of a small business? But as luck would have it I scampered  up the bank to retrieve my fly from the black spruce, stepped up on a downed tree to reach my fly, lost my footing and a branch on the tree gauged an enormous hole in my first pair of breathable waders. Hmmmm…..

    [Recycled Waders provides a flat-out better alternative for retired waders: up-cycling them to new hand-sewn gear full of life and character. Photos: Patrick Jenkins, Recycled Waders]

    Continue reading "Fishing Waders Trigger Deep Thoughts About Gear Manufacturing" »

    Closing the Loop - A Report on Patagonia's Common Threads Garment Recycling Program

    Common_threads_1 In Fall 2005, when we launched our new line of recyclable Capilene® Performance Base Layer garments, we also announced a five-year goal to make all Patagonia products recyclable through our new Common Threads Garment Recycling Program. This program invites customers to return used-up clothing and delivers the retired garments to a fiber manufacturer that uses those items to make new products. As we near 2010, the five-year window for our goal has shrunk to one and a half years. Will we meet the goal? This report discusses the progress we've made - and steps we have yet to take. 

    Closed-Loop Recycling in Context

    It is important to remember that Common Threads is a key - but single - component of Patagonia's efforts to reduce our environmental footprint. In addition to garment recycling, we choose — where possible — raw materials (aka "e-Fibers”) that cause less environmental harm than do their conventional or non-recycled counterparts. We became a bluesign® brand member to encourage our fabric suppliers to reduce their resource consumption and better manage toxic chemicals. Through our Web mini-site, The Footprint Chronicles, we track, measure and report the environmental impacts of the many products we make. We build everything to high quality standards, with the idea that the best products simply last longer and require less-frequent replacement. We design clothing that retains its appeal for many years, not in-and-out fashion trends that end up abandoned in a closet. Also, we encourage consumers to wear out our products - or give them to someone who can. Even our retail stores will sometimes repatriate clothing donated to the Common Threads Recycling Program to local nonprofits, if the stuff still has wear and life in it. If, after a lifetime of use, a garment can be reused or handed-down no more, we provide Common Threads as a final destination, so that worn, used, and abused products can be recycled and made into new garments.      

    Continue reading "Closing the Loop - A Report on Patagonia's Common Threads Garment Recycling Program" »

    Recycle Your Old Climbing Ropes

    Climbing_rope1 In the spirit of our Common Threads Garment Recycling program, Sterling Rope Company is launching a climbing rope recycling program in partnership with Rock/Creek Outfitters,, and the Triple Crown Bouldering Series. Old ropes will be sent to a recycling facility where they'll be melted into nylon pellets and remade into common household items.

    Read "Sterling Rope Recycling Program" on for all the details.

    Thumbs-up to everyone involved with this new program.

    [With thanks to Steve House, RB and George. Photo: Free]

    Podclimber & Timmy O'Neill Part Two

    Lgjapfood In part two of Podclimber's behind-the-scenes with Timmy O'Neill and the making of the Common Threads Garment Recycling video things get a little more uncommon. Timmy and Morning Glory Farr visit a Buddhist temple, interview Nagai from the Patagonia Shibuya store and have a run-in with the bidet in their hotel room. Patagonia is not responsible for the splash damage from this episode.

    powered by ODEO

    Download the MP3

    [Photo courtesy of TimmyO']

    Weekend Entertainment: Podclimber Goes Behind the Scenes with Agent Timmy

    Lgjapkaraoke The audio/video wizards over at Podclimber are featuring a series of podcasts with Patagonia ambassador Timmy O'Neill and the crew who made our Common Threads Garment Recycling video. Host LarryB goes behind the scenes during the making of the video to give us a listen at what exactly went down in Tokyo, Japan. Big thanks to Podclimber for putting these together. We'll feature all three episodes throughout the coming week, starting with episode one right here. Have a great weekend everybody and thanks for visiting The Cleanest Line.

    The Story Behind the Undies Video - Episode 1

    powered by ODEO

    [Photo courtesy of]

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.