Charlotte Jalley is the co-founder of ReRun. Here ⬇️ she explains why reusing running clothing and shoes is so important to reduce our carbon footprint.
All the equipment is second-hand and super affordable!
1. When was ReRun set up? What was the aim initially?
ReRun began as an idea in March 2018. Initially, we thought we would be ‘just’ a second-hand running gear shop promoting the use of pre-loved and pre-owned clothing.
Immediately, we started to receive donations and 70% of them were mostly unworn finishers t-shirts that we found difficult to sell. We now have close to 10 000 and we are committed to changing the culture around freebies in the running community and asking people to ask themselves ‘Do I really need this? In our opinion, it is a big problem and a tragedy. These t-shirts are 100% polyester- the equivalent of around 7+ plastic bottles EACH!
2. How difficult is it to convince people to buy second-hand sportswear?
It’s difficult, although once they have a positive experience they tend to be on board and the challenge is to get them to try. We try very hard to label the condition of the clothing correctly so people know what they are getting. We also add our logo to the clothes as we hope to create conversations.
3. How do you source those items?
So far, it has been purely by word of mouth, which shows that there is an abundance of clothing out there looking for homes. We have never asked for donations nor advertised the online shop.
4. The sportswear clothes market has grown a lot over the last few years. It is forecast to keep growing exponentially. This is scary considering the materials used to make those clothes.
Yes, and I can’t see an ideal material to use. For us, at ReRun, the focus is on getting maximum use out of clothes. Whatever the clothing has been made of the materials come from the earth and its production has required a considerably lengthy and energy intensive process. Chemicals have been added and garment workers have been involved. It’s important to respect that by making sure that the clothing is worn for the longest amount of time - as well as trying to buy from companies that respect both the environment and their workers. We encourage ReRunners to write to brands they like and ask them questions directly. Fashion Revolution is a good source for this.
5. Shoes are very problematic in terms of the waste they generate. Can runners be convinced to keep them for longer? Is it the design/quality of the shoes that need changing?
One of the big challenges with recycling shoes is that they can contain more than 40 different components. Some companies tell you that to avoid injury you should change your shoes from 200 miles of use (or 321 km)! Some brands, running shops and the Strava app will remind you and offer you an incentive to buy a new pair after a certain amount of time/distance has passed.
A few brands are looking at a circular shoe that is made of one material and can therefore be remade into a new shoe. This is still in the early phases and whilst it is a good move in direction we must still be encouraged to wear our shoes longer as this process will still require energy and chemicals.
6. How can the readers of Zero Waste London help you grow ReRun?
We do hope to extend our reach so that we can help create change but our aim is to put ourselves out of business within 5 years. We will know that we have achieved our mission when we stop receiving so many donations.
We are also working hard to set up collection points around the UK that are directly linked to charities and organisations that need outdoor clothing for those who can’t afford it and want to get outside more, thereby cutting out of the loop so that we will eventually become obsolete.
7. You set up a ReRun shoe bank. Who do you give those shoes to?
ReRun shoe bank is supported by brands and running shops that give us clothing and shoes. These go to charities and organisations working with people who cannot afford clothing to do exercise. Please get in touch if you are one of these!
You can email them (firstname.lastname@example.org).