Columbia’s ReThreads helps nonprofits through donation

Special program lasts through Sept. 10

Columbia Sportwear's program Rethreads is aimed at managing their environmental impact, Aug. 31, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Columbia Sportswear is one of many apparel companies who realize they rely on the environment to produce their products.

Columbia has been working toward reducing their environmental impact with a program called ReThreads. It’s designed to encourage people to donate their used clothing or shoes to one of Columbia’s stores

Columbia stores feature donation boxes where people can drop off their used clothing and shoes, Aug. 31, 2017. (KOIN)

They started the program 12 years ago, according to Scott Welch, Columbia’s senior global corporate relations manager.

“We started it as a solution for a product that was returned by consumers that we simply couldn’t repair,” Welch said.

Now, every Columbia store has a box where customers can drop off used clothing or shoes.

Welch said, “We want you to clean out your closes. Get rid of all the clothing you don’t wear any longer, doesn’t matter what brand it is. Apparel or footwear — bring it down to Columbia and we ensure that its useful life continues for other people, either being resold or recycled.”

Columbia has taken an extra step to reduce their environmental impact and started a special program with ReThreads, which goes through Sept. 10.

During this time, people will get a token when they drop off their clothes at one of Columbia’s stores. With the token, people can drop it in 1 of 3 nonprofits.

“We’re going to give you a coin for how many pounds you bring it,” Welch said. “You’re able to vote for a donation to one of three nonprofits, and we donate a dollar per pound to those 3 nonprofits.”

These tokens can be used to vote for 1 of 3 nonprofits Columbia has paired up with, Aug. 31, 2017. (KOIN)

The 3 nonprofits are the National Park Foundation, the American Hiking Society and the Children and Nature Network.

Your donations are then shipped and repurposed into a number of things.

“It could be used as like stuffing for a stuffed animal or carpet pad for a carpet or down-cycled to some other use, so it keeps it out of  the landfill,” Welch said.