Fitness Apparel Re-Use and Recycling!


We’re going Green at our Springfield Store!!

Undeniably, the “green” movement has come to the running and active lifestyle communities. The green movement is a collective term for the individuals and organizations involved in efforts to protect our environment.  In many ways, we are all a part of the success or failure of the green movement.

As individuals, we recycle. Bottles, cans, plastic bags.  We recycle our newspapers and our junk mail.  We turn old print outs into scrap note paper. We use “greener” detergents, and keep the thermostat at 68 in the winter and 75 in the summer.

At our running store in Springfield, VA, we recycle the cardboard boxes that our running and walking shoes are delivered in.  We use 5 gallon DeerPark water via a dispenser to avoid the waste of individual 16oz. disposable water bottles.  Our running staff all carry re-usable hydration packs or handheld bottles when running or walking.

We Turn Your Old Running Shoes into Jobs for Africans

 We’ve actually been doing this for a very long time. Old running shoes and walking shoes are collected by an organization called Perpetual Prosperity Pumps Foundation (PPPF) and are sent to Africa where they are sold to vendors in major metro areas who in turn create jobs. The money from the sale of the shoes provides training and tools to the poorest rural farmers.

Another well known running shoe recycling program that you may have heard of is Soles for Souls.)

Though all of this was good, it didn’t seem like enough.  So, when our team started wondering and thinking about how we could become more “green,” after doing some research, we came to several different conclusions:

1)       Some people prefer to see their donations used in their local communities; and

2)       Recycling doesn’t have to be limited to just shoes.

Clothing makers have introduced new fabrics that are “eco-friendly.”  This means that the fibers used in the clothing are environmentally friendly, coming from either organic plants, recycled plastics, or from fibers derived from plants such as bamboo. In fact, some of the apparel that we carry actually features these eco-friendly fibers.  There is, however, debate about whether or not these fibers are truly eco-friendly since some argue that it takes more energy to produce these fibers.

Clothing makers are developing programs for recycling both in their factories and with consumers.  In 2005, Patagonia introduced their “Common Thread Program” that allows consumers to send back used Patagonia apparel for recycling:

The Sustainability Working Group (SWG) of the European Outdoor Group (EOG) said September 11 that it had begun working on a business model for an industry-wide “End of Life” program.   The SWG will work with retailers, brands, suppliers, waste disposal contractors, government agencies, consumers, universities and media to identify best practices next year. It aims to deliver a business model in 2011 that addresses the many obstacles to recycling apparel and get at least 10 major brands to commit to a pilot program in 2012.

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), which announced September 23 2009 a framework to cooperate with EOG on sustainability issues. That effort will be led by Petzl and Patagonia.  The hope is a collaborative effort will succeed in a bigger way than individual efforts of years past.

The First of Its Kind

We are proud to announce what we believe is the first fitness apparel re-use and recycling program in the region.

For as long as we can afford to, we are willing to invest a portion of our apparel profit to get you started.  Bring in your clean, gently used fitness apparel and we will give you:

  • a $5 New Spring/Summer Apparel MetroBucks for every pair of used (but resusable) running shorts or short-sleeve shirt
  • a $10 New Fall/Winter MetroBucks for every pair of used (but reusable) running long pants, long-sleeve shirt, or jacket


All reusable apparel will be redistributed to individuals and organizations in our local running and walking community who need it. If we can’t find a home locally, we’ll redistribute to global organizations where the clothing will find an international home.

Secondly, we are putting a second shoe collection box in the store.  For those of you who would prefer to see their running and walking shoes put into use locally, simply drop them in.  We’ll clean them up and redistribute appropriately.  Again, if we can’t find a home locally, we’ll redistribute to the global organization PPPF.

Together, we can make a difference here at home and across the world.  Join us in our apparel and shoe reuse and recycling efforts.


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