Corporate Leadership Encourages Plastic Recycling

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. – Patagonia Mission Statement

Environmental Mindset

Since its founding in 1972, Patagonia has made environmental consciousness a part of its business plan. From their earliest history, before Patagonia became a name recognized around the world, the company founders and employees realized that protecting the environment is good for our planet and is good business too. Today, the Ventura, California-based company markets their products to sell while simultaneously highlighting environmental issues and educating their customers about their ongoing efforts to design, produce, and sell the most sustainable products possible.

Many of Patagonia’s waste prevention and recycling efforts take place behind the scenes; yet those efforts spotlight their dedication to environmentally sound management practices. Their efforts to recycle the plastic bags and wraps that protect their products in transit to their retail stores demonstrate a tangible commitment to conserving our planet’s natural resources and protecting the environment. In this instance, Patagonia has found that recycling to facilitate reuse is the best current option for dealing with the plastic bags and wraps that play an integral part in their current production network.

Collection at Distribution Center

When Patagonia’s Reno Service Center opened in 1996, it was constructed with as much recycled content as possible, from rebar to carpet. A recent expansion project was LEED Gold certified. This Eco-friendly distribution and customer service center is the heart of Patagonia’s operations. Patagonia’s products are shipped to this site from factories around the world and from there, are sent to wholesalers, catalog and on-line customers, and to Patagonia’s own retail stores. To protect their products from damage during their journey from production to point-of-sale, nearly everything is packaged in lightweight plastic wrap. The Reno Service Center has become the hub for recycling these bags and wraps when they are returned from their retail stores to be consolidated and ultimately recycled.

Collection from Retail Stores

At Patagonia’s 28 U.S. retail stores, all of the plastic bags and wrap are collected for recycling as products are unwrapped. Eight of the stores, located on the East Coast and in Salt Lake City, have their bags collected directly for recycling via third-party programs.

The remaining twenty stores return their bags to the Reno Service Center where they are eventually baled. Due to storage constraints, the bales are collected by third-party haulers and then sold to Trex, Inc. The plastic bags and wraps are recycled and used as feedstock to manufacture composite plastic-wood lumber products. In 2010, these 20 stores returned more than 30,000 pounds of clean, used plastic bags and wrap to the distribution center for recycling. If predictions are correct even more plastic bags and wrap will be recycled in the coming years.

For more information about the environmental programs at Patagonia, Inc. please visit:

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