Patagonia stunned the business world when its founder announced he was giving the company to charity — and now the brand has given us another reason to love it.
Through its Worn Wear program, the company will pay you for your old Patagonia outerwear.
My husband and I tried the Worn Wear program by shipping back two dated Patagonia ski jackets and a lightweight men’s sweatshirt — all were in good condition but were at least over ten years old. After filling out some paperwork, washing our items, and shipping them back, we were pleasantly surprised to get a $160 store credit for our unwanted items.
Patagonia provides estimates on how much your item will be worth — in our case, we knew we could get up to $100 for snow shells, jackets, and parkas. We sent in a women’s outer shell ski jacket with no lining, a lined men’s ski jacket, and a lightweight red men’s sweatshirt.
But there are no guarantees. Although Patagonia won’t send your stuff back if it doesn’t want it, the company will still recycle your clothing responsibly.
While you can also drop your gear at a Patagonia store as part of the Worn Wear program, I recommend shipping it, as Patagonia frequently offers double-credit incentives for this.
That’s because the company really needs your stuff. Asha Agrawal, head of corporate development at Patagonia, told Fast Company that after seven years running the program, the Worn Wear program actually makes them money — and by making it profitable, it will help reduce the production of new items while keeping clothing out of landfills.
“[Worn Wear is] already a profitable business for us,” he told Fast Company. “So now, it’s just about scaling this business proposition, which will allow us to cut back on our net new production.”
Here’s how we scored $160 back from our used items:
We checked the eligibility of our items. Patagonia accepts Patagonia clothing that functions perfectly and is in good condition, including men’s, women’s and kids/baby, but there are some restrictions (no long underwear, swimwear, or accessories, for example).
If our item needed repair, we could have brought it to our local Patagonia shop or sent it in for some love.
We removed anything from our pockets and cleaned our stuff.
We printed a free shipping label and packed it up in an existing box — if Patagonia accepts your item, a $7 shipping fee will be deducted from your check.
We waited about a month for an email to find out whether we had earned a credit, which arrived via e-gift card.
You can also save money on like-new Patagonia gear by purchasing items on its Worn Wear site. After my parent’s dog chewed up my son’s Patagonia fleece, my mom bought him a like-new classic fleece for $50, way less than the $89 retail price.
Patagonia’s Worn Wear products are sourced from people’s closets and garages, as well as items collecting dust in the company’s distribution center that are functionally perfect but may have a cosmetic flaw.
Patagonia says one of the best things we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer and reduce our overall consumption along the way — buying used, buying less, and buying only what we need. By saving you money on high-quality Patagonia products, the company is hoping to incentivize more people to use the program.
“We’re working on the messaging to help change consumer behavior by arguing that it’s a better choice for you to buy used than new,” says Agrawal.
After participating in the sell-and-buy side of the Worn Wear program, I’m a convert — it’s a great way to save some money, help the planet, and support a company with integrity and products that stand the test of time.
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