Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative aims to get used gear in the hands of new owners rather than in a landfill. The most publicized aspect of the program is a special eBay destination where people can offer their used Patagonia clothing and gear or purchase used items at a discount, but the outfitter also advocates that its customers “Reduce”, “Repair”, and “Recycle” (there is also info on a recycling program on the company’s website.) I was glad to see that these messages were included as well – most importantly, reduce – don’t by what you don’t need in the first place. Easier said than done, but great to see this message at a time when we’re hearing so much of “buy, buy, and buy some more.”
As a brand that caters to outdoorsy, environmentally conscious consumers (who can afford to spend $300 on a jacket) I’m not surprised to see that this program has taken off. At the time of this writing there were close to 4000 used items listed. It will be interesting to see whether other retailers follow suit, and how much interest there will be among consumers.
I have no problem buying things used, but in general I would prefer to do so in person whether it’s at a local consignment shop, yard sale, or even on craigslist where I can examine the item before deciding to purchase it and not have to pay for shipping. Still, for a specialty item such as a high quality ski jacket (if I ever needed one – my outdoor adventures generally take place in warm climates!) that I’m not likely to find used locally, I would definitely consider this route.
What do you think? Would you buy, or have you bought, used clothes or other items online? How much of a discount off the original price would it have to be for you to buy used?