Timberland Launches Take-Back Program To Recycle and Upcycle Used Products

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Outdoor work and lifestyle brand Timberland launched a global product take-back program. In collaboration with innovation company ReCircled, the program provides the needed infrastructure to drive Timberland’s circular design and development cycle.

Based in Stratham, New Hampshire, Timberland set a goal to make its products net positive by 2030. It plans to achieve this through a commitment to regenerative agriculture and circular design.

The company has collaborated with ReCircled who has developed a process that closes the loop for circular programs. In the past, it has worked with footwear and apparel brands in North America, Europe, and Asia.

How it works?

Through the program, launching in August in the U.S., consumers can return the brand’s footwear, apparel, or accessories to any of its outlets.

The collected products will be either repaired or refurbished for sale on a re-commerce platform specifically designed for this initiative. The products could even be upcycled or recycled into new products.

To make it even more convenient to participate, Timberland is adding a ship-from-home option later in the summer.

After the U.S., the program could expand to EMEA later this fall, and to the APAC region in spring 2022.

Source: Timberland

Global brand president for Timberland, Susie Mulder said that the take-back program is a significant step for the company to achieve its 100% circularity goal. “At the same time (we are) addressing the ever-increasing consumer demand for responsible design and progressive retail options,” he said in a statement. “Timberland always builds our products for longevity. Now those products will have a second life, whether they are refurbished for re-sale, or disassembled and recycled into something new. Either way, the consumer and product journey goes on, and we continue to move the world forward, together.”

Read: According to the ThredUp 2020 Report, The World Of Online Fashion Resale Has Been Thriving During The Pandemic

Timberland always builds our products for longevity. Now those products will have a second life, whether they are refurbished for re-sale, or disassembled and recycled into something new

Susie Mulder, global brand president for Timberland

Circular Shoe

Apart from the program, the company revealed a sneak-peek of its Timberloop Trekker. With a circular design, the hiker shoe has a unique sole build— the outsoles can be removed at the ReCircled facility. This allows for each part of the shoe to go into its own unique recycling stream. The shoe is slated for a spring 2022 release.

Source: Timberland

Vice president of global footwear design for Timberland, Chris McGrath said: “We are incredibly excited to bring the Timberloop Trekkers to market next spring. Timberland has been using recycled materials in our footwear for years, but this design innovation puts us on the path to true circularity, where nothing goes to waste. And with ReCircled, we now have the mechanism in place to close the loop.”

The company is also dedicated to restoring nature by sourcing 100% of its natural materials through regenerative agriculture.

Elsewhere, surf sportswear retail firm Rip Curl launched a Wetsuit Take Back Recycling Program in Australia. Partnering with Franco/U.S.-based recycling company TerraCycle, the program encourages surfers to return their used wetsuits for recycling.

Global athleisure brand lululemon unveiled the Like New program to extend the life of “gently used/like new” products. All the products will undergo a cleaning process to be reused again. Those that fail to meet quality standards will be recycled with plans to expand the pilot into a resale program.

Read: Regenerative Agriculture: U.S. Farmer Sequesters Carbon For Cash Earning US$115,000

Lead image courtesy of Timberland.


  • Tanuvi Joe

    Born and bred in India and dedicated to the cause of sustainability, Tanuvi Joe believes in the power of storytelling. Through her travels and conversations with people, she raises awareness and provides her readers with innovative ways to align themselves towards a kinder way of living that does more good than harm to the planet. Tanuvi has a background in Journalism, Tourism, and Sustainability, and in her free time, this plant parent surrounds herself with books and rants away on her blog Ruffling Wings.

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