At Kuma Outdoor Gear, we’ve always believed that we could do more in our sustainability journey by finding innovative ways to reduce waste. Through our “Fix It Don’t Replace It” program, we had taken a step in the right direction, but now we are excited to take that next step to reduce our waste impact. That’s why we’re proud to present our latest initiative: The Re-Discover Project.
In collaboration with Earth Warrior, we’ve embarked on an exciting journey of repurposing and rediscovering the potential in items that have reached their end of life. With Katrina’s help, we’ve created sewing patterns that allow us to efficiently and effectively repurpose returned goods, such as chairs, tents and pet products. We’re giving them a new life and “Re-Discovering” how we can continue the circulation of these would-be discarded materials. Our goal is “nothing goes to waste!” Every component of the original item has to have a purpose and a plan. From the straps and buckles to the fabric and stuffing, we utilize every piece recreating “new” items that our Kuma Kommunity can enjoy and use again.
Introducing: Katrina from Earth Warrior
The Re-Discover Program would not be here if it weren’t for Katrina from Earth Warrior, so we would like to take this opportunity to share this interview we did with her so you, our Kuma Kommunity, can learn a little more about our process and goals for this project!
1. How did Earth Warrior Start?
I started Earth Warrior in 2018 with the goal to reduce textile waste and single use plastic waste. But the journey to getting to Creating Earth Warrior started way before 2018. Growing up I spent countless hours outdoors connecting with nature and picking up garbage and planting trees every spring with my family. I also spent a lot of time sewing and designing clothes, so I went to college for Fashion design. After working in the industry for multiple years, I was very disheartened by the amount of waste created in manufacturing clothing. I stepped away from fashion and textiles and worked on an organic produce farm where I learnt how everything on the farm was circular and contributed to the natural space around the farm. This inspired me to step back into fashion and textiles to create a circular system through fashion. I started playing with old worn out jeans and sweaters to create tote bags and toques and continued to expand with other textiles to find ways to keep them from going to landfills. Through upcycling clothing I also started to develop systems in my workspace that would generate zero waste, meaning everything would be used or recirculated through design and through other recycling practices. This inspired me to start bringing zero waste into my everyday lifestyle, so I started making myself items, like reusable produce bags, tote bags, and unpaper towel that would help me live more consciously, and after multiple requests to purchase the items I was making to reduce waste, I decided to rebrand to Earth Warrior and pursue helping individuals and businesses reduce waste.
2. How did you and the Kuma Team Connect?
I met Rob from Kuma over a beer at a mutual friend’s holiday party. I wasn’t even going to go as I was enjoying ice cream and the warmth of my bed, but something inside told me to go out and be social. I introduced myself to Rob and shared how I was an upcycler and textile recycler. Rob mentioned how he and his team were recently at a conference in Kimberly, BC called KORE and were inspired there to start an upcycling line for Kuma, but were looking for someone locally with expertise in the area of textile recycling and upcycling. Since then we have been collaborating together to create the Re-Discover Program in the Edmonton area with plans to expand to other markets as well.
3. Can you explain why it is important for you to help businesses like KUMA to start programs like the Re-Discover Program?
Creating initiatives like the Re-Discover Program with businesses like Kuma hold immense importance in the fight against environmental degradation. These programs embody a commitment to responsible consumption and waste reduction, addressing critical issues such as textile waste and the environmental impact of a throw away society. Programs like Re-Discover represent a crucial shift towards a circular economy, emphasizing the importance of reusing, recycling, and upcycling. By encouraging customers to return used items, KUMA is not only reducing the demand for new production of new textiles for some of their products but also minimizing the carbon footprint associated textile manufacturing.
Such programs foster a sense of responsibility and mindfulness among consumers. They encourage individuals to view their purchases as part of a larger lifecycle, promoting a more sustainable and conscious approach. Engaging in programs such as the Re-Discover initiative enables both businesses and consumers to collaboratively contribute to conserving Earth’s resources and preserving our natural ecosystems. Here at Earth Warrior we see the Re-Discover Program as a beacon of hope in an industry that has often prioritized profit over sustainability. It reflects a commitment to harmonizing human activities with the natural world, ultimately paving the way for a more regenerative and Earth-friendly future.
4. KUMA is currently selling the upcycled bags and log carriers made from their warrantied and damaged chairs and gazebos/tents. But it is just the fabric being used for these items. Where do the rest of the parts of the gear go?
The chair fabrics are all being utilized from the outer fabric to the stuffing in the rediscover project and we are keeping the smaller hardware aside for possible future projects with Kuma. For the larger hardware, like tent poles and chair frames, we have been recycling all of these with General Recycling Industries in Edmonton Alberta. We are making sure all the parts are being recirculated to minimize waste and to contribute to a circular economy.
5. For people who are interested in reducing their own textile waste but may be unsure where to start, what steps would you recommend for them to incorporate into their daily routines?
For anyone interested in minimizing their textile waste but uncertain about where to begin, the first steps involve adopting mindful practices in daily routines. Start by embracing the concept of "reduce, reuse, repair and then recycle." Consider making informed choices when purchasing outdoor gear, favoring timeless and versatile pieces over industry trends. Extend the life of your outdoor gear, or clothing through proper care, repairs, and creative upcycling. Donate or responsibly dispose of items you no longer need. Explore sustainable alternatives like second-hand shopping or supporting eco-friendly brands, or brands taking steps towards a circular future. Small, intentional changes in your purchasing habits can collectively make a significant positive impact on reducing textile waste.
For more information about Earth Warrior and the other projects Katrina is a part of, please visit her website www.earthwarriorlifestyle.com
Want to add some Re-Discover Gear to your Kuma Collection? Shop HERE