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March 30, 2022 5 minute READ

Energizing the Virtuous Cycle 

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The virtuous cycle requires a willingness to buy recycled goods which in turn creates demand for recycled items and makes the manufacturing of recycled goods desirable. Learn more about how you can energize the virtuous cycle in your own life!

The virtuous cycle is a series of events that tends toward equilibrium. It reinforces itself through a feedback loop to grow, expand, and increase its effectiveness. As it relates to recycling, we must be willing to buy recycled goods to create demand for recycled items, which makes the manufacturing of recycled goods desirable. The demand for recycled goods increases the need for the raw recycled material needed to make them, which makes recycling profitable, and that leads to the production of more easily recyclable goods. Then the cycle begins again.  

Patagonia, which has long been a leader in environmental stewardship, observed in a recent blog that “Recycling is Broken, Now What?” They aren’t giving up. Their Worn Wear program encourages Patagonia fans to return their Nano Puff jackets and Baggies shorts for repair. If they can’t be repaired or recycled in a practical way, they are being stored in a warehouse in Reno until technology catches up.  

Recyclers are looking for answers to the conundrum for what to do with the contents of the blue bin since China banned the importing of many recyclable materials in 2018 (and India followed suit in 2019). In many ways, it’s up to all of us what to do. We need to demand that our favorite brands do more with recycled resources, and we need to do more on a personal level to reduce the cost of getting clean items into the recycling stream. 

Items Featuring Recycled Content 

Recycled content - CamelBak Tritan, Marmot PreCip, Patagonia Torrentshell
Patagonia’s Torrentshell Jackets and Pants – Patagonia’s entry rainwear features an ECONYL® 100% recycled nylon ripstop face. It is also bluesign® approved, which means its manufacturing process has the lowest possible impact on people and the environment, and the manufacturer is being responsible in its use of resources. 

Marmot PreCip Eco Jackets and Hats – Marmot has established three metrics to measure its progress in reducing its carbon footprint – adhering to the Global Recycled Standard, bluesign certification, and PFC-Free technologies. The PreCip Eco uses recycled nylon ripstop and PFC-Free water repellent treatments.  

CamelBak Tritan Renew Water Bottles – Keep your water close at hand in a lightweight plastic bottle made with 50% recycled material. The process of making the Tritan Renew material is highly efficient and produces a new material with less demand on finite resources. Bottles are available in several sizes and configurations, with several styles made just for kids. 

Recycled Content - Green Toys, Compendium Cards, Socksmith Outlands Socks

Socksmith Outlands Series – Made in North Carolina from recycled yarns (wool, cotton), Socksmith’s Outlands USA collection features fun designs that Socksmith is known for with a more outdoorsy feel.   

Green Toys – Who doesn’t have fond memories of playing in the sandbox with a dump truck as a kid? Or maybe your favorite was spending a few extra minutes in the tub with a boat chugging along toward the pier. Green Toys makes dump trucks, ferry boats, airplanes, and fire engines from recycled plastic milk jugs. And, they make them in the USA! 

Compendium Cards - Send a heartfelt greeting on 100% recycled post-consumer paper with designs and sentiments printed in soy ink. The Positively Green line from Compendium recognizes important occasions with timeless images and inspiring thoughts. The cards are Made in USA.  

Recycled Content - Wally Eco Sox from Hey Dude, Wet-It Swedish Cloths, Boundless Shorts by Toad&Co

Wet-It Swedish Cloths – Made of high-quality cotton and cellulose pulp, Wet-It cloths may not be recycled, but they are a washable, reusable, sustainable, and compostable option for cleaning, washing dishes, dusting, and more. When it’s past its prime, just toss it in the compost pile and let it return to nature. 

Wally Eco Sox Shoes from Hey Dude – Hey Dude is stepping it up with a shoe that is made from recycled components, including a 100% recycled PET upper, an outsole made of 15% recycled rubber, and an insole made from 15% recycled cork. The lining is made of organic cotton.     

Boundless Shorts from Toad&Co – Toad&Co has long been committed to doing better. Part of that commitment has been in place since the late 1990s where they employ individuals with developmental challenges to do product assembly, order processing, and more. They are expanding the doing better ethos into sustainability and environmental goals to use 100% recycled synthetics and save 100,000 liters of water per year by 2025. Toad&Co has already accomplished the goal of using only organic cotton in their clothing. The Boundless Shorts for women are an example of a product combining recycled content with organic cotton.  

How can you energize your virtuous cycle? 

  • Reduce your consumption. Really consider whether you need a new pair of pants or a new jacket. 
  • Buy quality. Better quality will last longer, hold up better, and possibly even be recyclable when its useful life is at its end. 
  • Look for recycled and natural content for a reduced carbon footprint. 
  • Share your outgrown or older clothing and gear with a local thrift shop. 
  • Repair rips, holes, and imperfections. There are numerous videos online to show you how to do it or you can find a local alterations/seamstress business to help. 

We can all step up to do our part in the virtuous cycle. 

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