Turn Your Worn-Out Socks Into Dog Beds

Smartwool ‘s Second Cut Project will repurpose unwanted socks into new products.

May 4, 2021

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Turn Your Worn-Out Socks Into Dog Beds | Smartwool ‘s Second Cut Project will repurpose unwanted socks into new products.

Have you ever wondered where used socks go; at least those that haven’t disappeared into a laundry black hole? If you are like most people, you don’t give much of a thought to those mismatched or holey socks that you have laying around. But one company has and they are now repurposing those worn-out socks into dog beds.

Smartwool, founded in 1994 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado by two ski instructors, is known for all those bright colorful and practical knit socks and outdoor wear. Now, the company wants you to give them all your old socks  to recycle according to Fast Company. While the numbers of socks that go into landfills each year is not known, Smartwool conducted a survey to find out what people actually did with their unusable socks.

“A lot of organizations won’t take donated used socks, so oftentimes consumers just don’t know what to do,” Alicia Chin, the head of sustainability and social impact at Smartwool told Fast Company. Many of the people surveyed said they just put them in the trash where they end up in landfills.

That’s why the company said they had to act by investing in recycling projects for socks, all socks, and not just the ones they make. Smartwool calls it The Second Cut Project and they are starting with recycling socks into the filling that goes into dog beds by partnering with Material Return, a North Carolina-based circular company that turns textile waste like socks into new products.

While Smartwool has never made dog beds before, they fit into the company’s image of being a fun outdoor chain according to Chin. The dog beds will be available for sale during the 2021 holiday season. But dog beds are only the first products that socks will be transformed into.

“In terms of where we’re going, dog beds—that’s just the beginning,” she said “Ultimately, our goal here is to work with Material Return to actually take those stocks, turn it back into yarn, and then be able to create new products out of it. The sky’s the limit from where we go from there.”

Beginning on Earth Day and running through early May, Smartwool accepted clean used socks at some of their store locations. While the collection bins were temporary, according to Gear Junkie, the project is not. You can download a label from the company’s website to send your old socks to be recycled and repurposed.

But this is just the beginning of the company’s goal to reduce its impact and become carbon neutral. The Second cut Project is just one small step in a larger social impact route that will also include using 100 percent climate-positive wool, regenerative products, and completely circular products by 2030.

The company said that the project, “is the start of something special for all adventurers, planet-protectors, and sock-lovers alike. We are in this for the long run.”

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.