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Goodwill and the California Product Stewardship Council partner on used apparel

Goodwill Outlet warehouse
MPCA Photos
Flickr / Creative Commons
Goodwill Outlet warehouse

Secondhand apparel has shed its lowly reputation. Even before supply chain shortages and inflation pressures piqued consumers’ interest, the used clothing market was growing. That’s partly because websites, such as ThredUp and The Real Real, have made buying used clothes online simple. But thrift stores such as Goodwill often receive items that they could sell at a good price, if only they were in better shape.

Goodwill of the San Francisco Bay and the California Product Stewardship Council are looking to change that. They’re partnering with local garment cleaning and repair vendors — as well as students from San Francisco State University’s Apparel Design and Merchandising program — to create a system for repairing and reselling apparel.

So far, more than 800 pieces of damaged apparel have been repaired and posted to eBay through the pilot project. It’s funded by the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

The hope is to extend the clothing’s shelf life, send fewer items to landfill, and create new opportunities for skilled textile workers in the Bay Area.

Mary Catherine O’Connor is a radio and print reporter whose beats include climate change, energy, material circularity, waste, technology, and recreation. She was a 2022-23 Audio Academy Fellow at KALW . She has reported for leading publications including Outside, The Guardian, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, and many trade magazines. In 2014 she co-founded a reader-supported experiment in journalism, called Climate Confidential.