Print-on-demand e-commerce platform Teemill is turning Black Friday on its head by asking customers to send back clothing rather than trying to sell them more at discount.
The company, which is dedicated to a sustainable circular economy, is working with its community of 10,000 online stores on this week’s Take Back Friday campaign.
The campaign promotes how customers can return Teemill-made clothing and get rewarded with £5 credit to spend on future purchases.
Teemill enables users – from global organisations such as WWF, Greenpeace and BBC Earth to brands, influencers, artists and content creators – to create e-commerce stores connected to a circular supply chain so that they can create, sell or remake sustainable and circular clothing.
Teemill co-founder Mart Drake-Knight said: “Black Friday is a symptom of how waste has been woven into the way our world works. Products have been designed to be thrown away, meaning the only way to create growth is make and sell more products and create more waste.
“It fuels climate change and destroys nature. We built Teemill to solve that issue. Our products are designed from the start to come back and be remade, and that means that instead of creating waste we create new products from it.”
Teemill uses natural materials and renewable energy to make clothing on demand and when items wear out, customers scan a QR code on the label to send them back in return for the £5 credit for the purchase of a circular economy product.
Teemill’s Remill process turns returned products into new high-quality products, all of which can go through the same process over and over again. To date, it has diverted 30,000 kilograms of organic cotton from landfill, avoiding one million kilograms of CO2e emissions and saving 586 million litres of water.
Its goal is to take 100 million items back around the loop by 2027. Currently, less than 1% of the world’s clothes are made back into new clothes once they are worn out.
Mart added: “Doing the right thing shouldn’t cost the earth so we made the platform free because we want to encourage everyone who cares about these issues to have the chance to co-create a more sustainable future with us.”
The #TakeBackFriday campaign has the support of organisations including WWF, BBC Earth and Surfers Against Sewage.