Steal This Idea: Glove Love Rescues Single Mittens
A week won't go by in the winter that you don't wander past a single glove, dropped into a puddle, hanging over the back of a bench or propped up on a fence post. Sad, cold and lonely, the glove has been lost by its owner and is now all on its own with no one to care for it, destined for the trash bin.
But help is at hand.
Do the Green Thing is a climate change charity in the UK, and a few years back we set up Glove Love, an anti-waste initiative to help lost gloves everywhere find love again and be saved from the landfill.
From the one single and slightly wet glove that Naresh, our co-founder, brought into the office three years ago, grew a glove-saving campaign that has touched hearts and fingers around the world.
We started off by picking up single gloves whenever we stumbled across them. Then we asked Transport for London and several theatres across the capital to send us the gloves in their lost property, and we also asked our fans to help us in collecting up these lost souls.
Three years on, we still have gloves whizzing in from across London, from around the UK, from all over Europe, and even from as far away as America and New Zealand. One thing's clear: people want these single gloves put back to good use.
So we wash, dry, sort, and sew up small holes. Any gloves that are beyond repair get sent to Oxfam to be recycled, and ski gloves are paired and put to one side to be donated to a local homeless shelter.
The washed-and-ready gloves go on to get matched up with a like-fingered mate. Mittens with mittens, stripes with stripes, and polka dots with polka dots.
Then, in a small but romantic ceremony, each pair get a small 'left' and 'right' label sewn on to them to prove that, while they may not look exactly alike, they are still a match made in glove heaven.
Finally, they are beautifully packaged up with a label explaining who they are, where they were found, and who saved them. And then they are ready to go back out into the world to warm fingers, make snowballs, and spread the word that one glove isn't useless; one glove is just the start of the story.
Since 2009 we have warmed thousands of fingers with Glove Love. Including some fingers in Singapore, in Australia (yes, we thought it was hot there too), in Canada, and all across Europe.
We send to all corners of the globe and welcome donations from anywhere. But a big part of Do the Green Thing is inspiring and encouraging others to take action too. So if you want to set up a Glove Love programme in your country, your city or your community then we would love to help you on your way. Contact glovelove [at] dothegreenthing [dot] com for more information.
And in the mean time, send any lonely gloves in to us here and get your pair of Glove Love gloves here.
Here's to warm fingers and second chances.