How To Be A More Sustainable Runner: Clothing And Kit

ReRun Clothing

Written By ReRun

ReRun Clothing is a grass roots environmental campaigning company that aims to tackle and reduce textile waste following a growing awareness that our outdoor and adventure lifestyles are greatly contributing to an already strained planet. ReRun is an Ultra X Partner.

18 December 2020

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ReRun Clothing is a grass roots environmental campaigning company set-up and run by GB Ultra Runner Dan Lawson and his family. The company is driven by a desire to tackle and reduce textile waste following a growing awareness that our outdoor and adventure lifestyles are putting a strain on our planet.

In 2021, Dan and his wife will be traveling to Slovenia to take part in the Ultra X World Championships. Dan will be running the 250km event and is gunning for the Green Ribbon award. As part of Ultra X’s Sustainability Policy, the Green Ribbon will be awarded to the competitor that displays the highest commitment to reducing their environmental impact both in preparation for and during the race (as determined by the organisers).

Ultra X as a Company are already setting high standards with regards to sustainability and in May 2020, became a carbon neutral company and will be carbon negative by 2023.

As a partner of Ultra X, ReRun will be producing a series of articles sharing ways to tread more lightly when taking on adventures. In this piece, we focus on kit and clothing.

ReRun

Running kit and clothing

Every time we buy something, whatever or however it’s made, it has an impact on this earth and those that inhabit it. Without question, the most sustainable piece of clothing is the one in your wardrobe. Prolonging the life of a garment by three months results in a 5-10% reduction of their carbon, water and waste footprints. Multiply this by many years and you see the impact!

Currently in the UK alone, we send 300,00 tonnes of clothing to landfill every year. For perspective, imagine Wembley Stadium filled to the arch with clothing. The fashion industry as a whole is responsible for polluting our atmosphere and water sources. Forests are cut down to make textiles, animals are regularly mistreated, and landfills are piling up. Working conditions can often be questionable and understanding the full environmental impact is challenging, with transparency being a big issue.

Buying sustainably

Okay, now that we’ve said that! If you actually need something (which we all do from time to time!), perhaps you need it for a long while or maybe just for a one-off event, what can you do?

Can you borrow it?

Put the word out on Facebook, your (or a friend’s) running club or your other social circles might be able to help.

Can your hire it?

There are several companies, such as TrekHire, OutdoorHire or Iso in the UK that offer this. If you know of any more please do leave them in the comments below.

Can you buy it second hand?

The second hand market is thriving and buying from these businesses and enterprises is supporting a much needed and to-be-encouraged avenue for clothing. It’s a great way of supporting local businesses and all the benefits that it brings to the environment and our community.

Within the running community you can buy pre-loved sportswear from…

  • eBay
  • Facebook – Running Gear Buy and Sell is a huge ‘shop’ with 40,000+ runners selling pre-loved gear
  • ReRun Clothing (that’s us!)
  • Play It Again Sport in Wales
  • Recycle My Run on Facebook collect and redistribute running clothing for free
  • Patagonia and The North Face re-sell their own pre loved gear

If you know anymore (sports related) pre-loved sources, please share them in the comments below.

Running Clothes on hangers

If buying is the only option

Now lastly, if you can’t borrow it, you can’t find it secondhand, but you actually do really need it (this does happen sometimes!), what should you do?

We suggest you start by looking at brands rather than products first. Then look for the item you want. ‘Sustainable’ means to not take more than can be sustained. Well, unfortunately we have gone beyond that point, when buying sustainable it goes hand-in-hand that we act sustainably also. That means committing to owning the product for many years, committing to repair it and then making sure it goes to a new home or a recycling centre when you have finished with it.

Our favoured certification to look for in brands is a B Corp. This goes beyond a product or service certification (with other certifications, fast fashion brands can claim sustainability by certifying one product line when the rest of the business is far from ethical, for example).

It is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. This is supported by transparency and accountability requirements. In our outdoor world, on the team are Finisterre, Kathmandu, Patagonia, Vivobarefoot and Athleta.

Certainly other certifications are a great sign that company’s are on the right track and meet a certain accountability standard. Look out for Better Cotton initiative BCI, Bluesign, Cradle to Cradle, Fair Trade, Global Organic Textile Standard GOTS, Global Recycle Standard, and Oeko tex.

And then there’s Fash Rev, Good on You, and Ethical Consumer Magazine for independent ratings. Check out how the brands that you use fare and cross reference this with that brand’s own sustainability page. Don’t be afraid to ask them via twitter, Facebook, email or Instagram any questions that you have.

In the next article, we will look at another area within racing at an event where we can cut down on our environmental impact.

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