Smartwool designs base layers, baseball caps, leggings—basically every apparel item you could want for an active day out in nature. But what the Colorado brand is really known for is its socks. Super cozy, super quality, Merino wool socks.
As of Earth Day on April 22, Smartwool will be recycling your old socks—no matter what the brand.
Socks are the most thrown-away clothing items there is. After all, who would want them? To help close the recycling gap and provide a home for those past-their-best socks, Smartwool has come up with a plan.
Until May 2, just look for the collection bins at these retailers in 42 states to drop your socks into. If you want to mail them to the company, you’ll need buy something from the website first. Then you can opt for a free mailer bag at check-out.
What will happen to all those socks that have been saved from landfills? They’ll go into filling dog beds—that will be available for sale around Christmas time—of course.
A recent Smartwool survey found that while over 80% of respondents recycle their used clothing, 91% of respondents are throwing away more than 1 pair of socks per year—contributing to about 11.3 tons of textile waste to landfills annually.
Alicia Chin, senior manager sustainability and social impact at Smartwool said in a statement: “There is obviously an urgent need for a recycling solution in the sock category, which is where we’re focusing our initial efforts.”
Smartwool’s ultimate plan? To begin building systems and experiments that lead the company toward a goal of 100% circularity by 2030.
“Circularity. What an idea,” says the brand. “To make a product and also build a system to keep it out of the landfill after its first use is no small feat. But it’s the right thing to do.”