Rechaco soles & Bob Gent, 20,000th ReChaco customer. Photo credits: Chaco
If you're a regular reader of TreeHugger, you'll be familiar with our most prolific writer, Lloyd Alter, who has a bee in his bonnet about Recycling and takes ever opportunity to laud its higher-up-the-waste-hierarchy cousin, Reuse, over the former. He should like this story.
Through their 'ReChaco' Repair and Warranty Program, Chaco, who make outdoor sandals, have recently just repaired their 20,000th customer's sandals. That's a lot of footwear kept out of landfill, plus it keeps 12 year round employees busy (some weeks 700 sandals arrive on the doorstep.) For as Lloyd is forever pointing out, Reuse creates more jobs than Recycling.Now it could be argued that well made product shouldn't need this much repair. But footwear does take a big pounding, being as it is"where the rubber meets the road." And once you've moulded a pair of shoes , boots or sandals to your feet and they are comfortable, you're loath to give up that personalised comfort, for something new and stiff out of a box.
As Whitney Conner, brand manager at Chaco sees it, "Through ReChaco we can help save the soles of many adored sandals and shoes so our fans truly can spend a lifetime of adventures in that one favorite pair. ReChaco is not just a resole and repair business, instead it is an emotional experience that allows us to further connect with our consumers."
A sentiment echoed by Bob Gent, the 20,000th ReChaco customer. "I am thrilled that this company repairs their products, so I can get some more good use out of them before finally consigning them to the great beyond." (No doubt he was doubly thrilled that Chaco repaired his sandals for nix, being their milestone customer.)
The ReChaco program offers customers a choice of sole and umpteen options of webbing colours, so a repair cane be like getting a new pair of sandals, except they already fit their feet perfectly.
Years ago, we mentioned Chaco, when they were collecting pre-loved shoes for Himalayan communities and supplying hurricane victims with sandals.
Chaco is brand within the Outdoor Group, a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. which also look after Patagonia Footwear, who have a similar take on footwear repair as this previous posts indicates: Patagonia Say Resole Worn Shoes, Before Buying New
All this reuse must warm the cockles of Lloyd's heart.