Resell the product online to give it a new home:
Second-hand marketplaces for snowsports and outdoor equipment now exist and cater for our specific needs. Check out Bluebird Exchange for a great place to buy and sell second-hand or unused outdoor products. Second-hand products also tend to be significantly cheaper than new products so you can save a few pennies whilst also saving the environment.
Can you repair, upcycle, recycle or donate the product?
Maintenance and repair can extend the product lifecycle of our goods dramatically. Check online for DIY repair tutorials or take your product to your local tailor or ski shop to see if they can work any magic. Bluebird Exchange recently released a series of basic maintenance videos as part of their Citizen of Winter online festival to empower you to start repairing and maintaining your gear from home.
Upcycling projects take your goods and transform them into something entirely different. Art projects or building furniture from old skis and snowboards are great examples. See if there are any local upcycling initiatives in your area before throwing your gear out.
Can any of the materials in your product be recycled? It is sometimes hard to know but some brands give guidance on how to dispose of their products at the end of life. North Face run their Clothes the Loop programme which allows consumers to drop off their unwanted clothing and footwear at The North Face Retail And Outlet Stores. The products are then repurposed for reuse to extend their life or recycled into raw materials for use in products like insulation, carpet padding, stuffing for toys, and fibres for new clothing.
Charities such as One Tree at a Time take donations of unused products or products requiring minor repairs to re-sell in their 'Fix-It' shop. It is a great way to not only keep that gear in circulation but also help a snowsports charity dedicated to bringing about environmental change. Another option is to donate your usable products to a local charity shop for them to re-sell.
Dispose of to landfill:
This should only ever be a last resort having exhausted all the other options. As a vast majority of technical gear uses plastic – which won’t degrade - in all aspects of its design, we really don’t want our gear ending up in landfill and we should try our hardest to avoid that being it’s final resting place.
Can you rent the product instead?
Ski towns across the world rent out not only hardwear but also clothing. There is also a rise of online rental marketplaces which makes peer-to-peer rental an exciting proposition. The quality of these goods is improving year on year and it may be worth considering whether you actually need to buy a 'new' product at all.
Can you find what you are looking for second-hand?
Check out local ski shops for second-hand products or online marketplaces such as Bluebird Exchange which stocks a wide range of ex-rental, ex-demo, ex-warranty, second-hand and returned outdoor products.
Purchase a new product from an environmentally responsible brand
When the above options have been exhausted, your next step is to purchase a new product from an environmentally responsible brand.
Lots of brands have started to utilise more circular models for their production processes such as the use of recycled or natural materials. Most brands do not hide the fact they are employing sustainable practices so you should be able to spot this quite quickly when on their website or in store.
With so many brands now engaging with the climate issue, we can now easily choose to only purchase from brands or retailers who are championing new ideas to reduce the environmental impact of their products.