With the week of April 24 marking the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, a travesty which took 1,138 Bangladeshi workers’ lives due to poor working conditions, both brands and consumers are recognising the ways fast fashion negatively affects our environment.
In a bid to create a less destructive but still stylish industry, entrepreneur Jack Ostrowski has launched reGAIN, a new initiative and an easy-to-use app that rewards users each time they recycle old or unwanted clothing.
The idea is simple – choose a minimum of 10 items to package in a cardboard box and use the app to locate your closest drop-off point. Almost immediately, you’ll be awarded with a discount code from the partner of your choice to go towards your next purchase.
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ReGAIN states that 70% of the population are second hand clothing users, which amounts to around 5 billion people, so there’s no risk of anything that’s still wearable going anywhere other than to a new home. Anything that can’t be reused will be recycled and repurposed for items such as cleaning cloths or insulation, and failing that, will be used for energy production. In essence, there’s no such thing as a useless contribution.
Discount codes aren’t revealed until you’ve completed the drop-off and they must be used within 7 days. Perhaps more important to mention, though, is that retailers in the current line-up are limited. However, it definitely does seem like the kind of initiative that will catch on as the hype surrounding this popular topic increases. Already this year, the likes of Zara and Target have released statements promising to work towards a circular apparel chain and Mango aims to source 50% of its cotton from sustainable sources, all by 2020. That said, it seems only a matter of time before more fast fashion retailers make sustainable ‘acknowledgement’ at the very least, a priority.
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ReGAIN is free to download on iOS and Android. Users are encouraged to re-use cardboard boxes for packaging, and each box must contain a minimum of 10 clothing items. There are over 20,000 drop-off points across the UK and postage is free of charge. Users are limited to one delivery per week and discount vouchers must be used within days of receipt.