The truth is that even shoes made from recycled plastic bottles will end up in a landfill. A truly different business model called recommerce, also known as reverse commerce, is challenging the current destiny of our outdoor products. Recommerce is the online resale of previously owned, overproduced or damaged product. The promising aspect of recommerce is the potential for retailers to create alternative revenue from products that have already been sold once. This could allow retailers to slow down production of new products, without sacrificing revenue.
Companies like The Renewal Workshop and Yerdle are the startups behind gear and apparel resale programs launched by outdoor companies like The North Face, REI and Patagonia. They have created re-sale platforms that allow these bigger retailers to create a secondary revenue stream while decreasing environmental and social costs of their product.
Of course, customers benefit as well, by being able to purchase like-new products for the fraction of the original price, while also decreasing negative environmental and social impact through their purchasing behavior. It’s truly a win-win situation for the businesses, consumers and the environment.