The outdoor industry and the retail industry each have challenges ahead at better controlling their impact, but there are actionable steps that we are taking to be at the forefront of change. As an independent retailer we have the freedom to make more conscious decisions, create our own green initiatives, and pursue environmental certifications that open doors to allow us to lower our overall footprint on the environment. We want to be able to follow our own “Leave No Trace” ethical standards not only as adventurers, but as a business as well.
Here at RRT, we don’t believe in double standards. To achieve our long-term goals at being an environmentally conscious outfitter, we believe in practicing what we preach. In the spirit of “Leave No Trace,” our everyday operations should be as minimally impactful as possible. We are constantly reevaluating our recycling and reuse practices, energy and resource consumption, use of single-use items, and our outreach and education efforts.
–Recycling and Reuse Standards: We recycle all accepted materials within local standards, avoiding the landfill whenever possible. Acceptable non-recyclable products are kept and reused for packaging, fill, or shipping from the store; we never use new boxes or plastics. keeping in tune with refining our waste management, we are working towards finding the proper disposal outlets for all streams of waste in our store, everything from batteries to bubble-wrap have a place. With these principles we have achieved a waste diversion rate of over 90%!
–Cutting out Single Use: All employees have access to a full kitchen, allowing us to cut out to-go cups, utensils, and containers. Our events are hosted with reusable camp mugs. Shopping bags have always been reused plastic or recycled paper products, and during the holiday season all of our wrapping paper and gift boxes are made out of recycled paper and are made to be recycled.
–Energy and Resource Efficiencies: While we have challenges in an old building, we have made strides to improve our energy and resource consumption. We use reclaimed building materials in making displays and building repairs. We also buy used fixtures as opposed to brand new ones when possible. We’ve recently started making the switch to LED lighting in our store as opposed to incandescent.
–Environmental Initiatives: We are constantly taking on new initiatives that better educate new generations of adventurers how to be responsible. We also help put boots on the ground for trail maintenance, river clean ups, and fundraisers. You can find out more through our stewardship page. You can also find us sharing ideas and inspiration on our blog, like “Live Hopeful, Act Global”
–Repairs: While many of our brands have professional repair services (Like Rab and Patagonia), many items fall through the cracks. For simple repairs, RRT can help keep your product in use and out of the landfill without taking a plane ride across the country and back.
Using the 8 categories outlined below, we have created a sustainability standard that we here at RRT use to achieve our long-term goal(s) of being an environmentally concious outfitter. We continue to analyze these categories to ensure that the quality of the products we stock and sell are of the highest grade, both in performance and sustainability.
–Down Standards: ALL Down sold at RRT must be either Responsible Down Standard (RDS) or Traceable Down Standard (TDS) compliant. These ensure ethical harvesting of down, including no live plucking and no force feeding of ducks or geese.
–Trade Standards: Outside of North American- or European- made products, we look for products that are certified Fair Trade. Worker and manufacturing standards are also made visible within the Higg Index.
–Recycled Products: The ability to take the old and make it new again cuts back on the demand for new resources and goods, lowering total environmental impact.
–Low-impact Manufacturing: Beyond selection of raw materials, we look for manufacturers that are using the cleanest and most efficient means possible to manufacture their goods. One standard to monitor this in textiles is if they are Blue Sign Approved.
–USA Made: USA made is regularly an economic talking point, but this also has an impact on our ecosystem. US- or North American- made products have a much smaller carbon footprint to them.
–Environmental Initiatives: What a company stands for is often obvious with their passion projects. This may include grants to conservancies, planting trees, or cleaning waterways. No matter the initiative, we are paying attention to those who do more.
–Sustainable Resources: Moving to a world with less plastic is our main objective here, stopping the flow of micro-plastics into our ecosystems. We are working to introduce more wool, cotton, bamboo, hemp, and other plant-based fabrics and resources to RRT.
–Life Cycle Management: Monitoring our impact with raw materials and manufacturing is only part of the battle. Creating products that have a longer lifespan, that are repairable, or that are recyclable is every bit as important to our sustainability story.