Smartwool announces goal to collect and recycle 400,000 socks

DENVER, April 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Smartwool, which makes merino wool-based socks and apparel, restarted its Second Cut project in April — and plans to recycle 400,000 old socks through the brand’s annual retail take-back as part of its ongoing circular economy efforts collect.

While most consumers donate their old clothes, a recent Smartwool survey found1 showed that many do not participate in recycling programs either because they do not know how to recycle or the resources are not available (46%), or because the item is completely worn out and they consider it worthless (67%).

Recycling has many benefits, including reducing the environmental impact of collecting new raw materials, saving energy, reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill, and conserving natural resources like water. This April, Smartwool wants to educate and encourage people to adopt better recycling habits by sending in their old socks to participate in the Second Cut project.

Smartwool announced that first Second Cut Project in April 2021 to address the textile waste problem of the apparel industry as only 12% of apparel materials are recycled worldwide and socks are one of the most thrown away garments. Last year’s sock redemption collection kept over 12,000 pounds of material out of landfill, and along with North Carolina-based material return, Smartwool turned this waste into the Second Cut K9 Bearing Pad.

Smartwool continues its partnership with Material Return – a bespoke circular economy platform within the Industrial Commons group offering local and sustainable textile manufacturing and waste solutions – to give old socks a second chance. The goal of collecting 400,000 socks this year will help Smartwool produce recycled yarn that can be used in future circular products.

“With the relaunch of our second-cut project, we are one step closer to our promise of 100 percent circularity by 2030,” he said Alicia Chin, Senior Manager Sustainability and Social Impact, Smartwool. “We strive to find innovative manufacturing practices to limit our impact on the environment, and the Second Cut project allows consumers to support our progress by visiting our retail partners to recycle their socks.”

“Recycling is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for the economy,” he said Molly Hemstreet, Co-Executive Director of The Industrial Commons. “Recycling leverages a domestic source of materials and supports American recycling and manufacturing jobs – underscoring how environmental practices can benefit both people and the planet. We focus on local solutions to industrial problems – the Second Cut project with Smartwool is a perfect example of community-based problem solving in action.”

Smartwool is relaunching its take-back collection participating retail stores nationwide from April 11th to 24th. Participants can also send in old socks of any brand for recycling by choosing a free one mail bag at

To learn more about Smartwool’s 10-year roadmap to becoming climate positive through regenerative materials and the circular economy, visit Smartwool’s What matters hub.

1 Smartwool survey, 2020

About smartwool
Based in Denver, Colo, Smartwool® is a socks and apparel brand whose products are designed to make the most of the inherent benefits of merino wool and bring comfort, confidence and community to outdoor living. For information on the full range of Smartwool® products or to find a retailer near you, please visit Smartwool, a division of VF Outdoor, LLC, is a trademark of VF Corporation.

About Industrial Commons
The Industrial Commons, a 501c3, creates and develops related corporations that solve industrial problems for businesses and workers and bring hope to the people of western North Carolina. Material Return, a collaborative company of The Industrial Commons, works with local manufacturers and national brands to turn textile waste into new circular products.

SOURCE Smartwool

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