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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.

Originally from Chicago, I’ve lived in San Francisco for the past 20 years and am a veteran reporter and communicator. I was most recently editorial director for Activate, a nonprofit that empowers science entrepreneurs to bring their research to market. Prior to that I spent a dozen years as an independent reporter whose beats included climate, energy, microplastics, technology, and recreation. I’ve written for Outside, The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, and many other publications, and in 2014 co-founded a reader-supported experiment in journalism, called Climate Confidential. I had a brief stint in radio during college and can’t wait to learn the craft of audio storytelling.