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Outdoor store pushes reuse, recycling

SATURDAY, DEC. 18, 2010

Spokane outdoor retailer Mountain Gear is collecting used items – footwear, jackets, pants, shirts, socks, tents, harnesses, backpacks and other cloth-based items – for reuse or recycling.

People can drop off those fabric or clothing items, including shoes, at the store, 2002 N. Division St.

The overall goal, said the company’s sustainability coordinator, Wyeth Larson, is to keep materials that can be reused or recycled out of landfills. Items don’t need to be outdoor equipment, Larson said.

Mountain Gear won’t do the separating or recycling; it will bale items and use a service provider to take donations to other companies for reuse – if items are still in good shape – or for recycling.

Larson said the company hasn’t yet found a company to provide that service. “We’re being a bit picky to ensure who we choose has the same vision as ours,” he added.

“Ideally we’ll find a recycler who keeps as much of their stock (inside the United States) as possible,” he said.

If items still can be used through repair, Mountain Gear staff will give customers names of repair providers.

About 10 percent of all textiles are reused or recycled, and Mountain Gear founder Paul Fish said he hopes to raise that rate in the Spokane area.

Fish said the new program will supplement existing recycling efforts and donations, not try to replace them.

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