Fashion designer Eileen Fisher is on a mission. She’s trying to educate people about the benefits of recycling your clothing rather than throwing them away. The amount of clothing and other textile waste in landfills is staggering. The EPA estimates more than 17 million tons wind up in landfills every year
Only about 2.5 million tons of clothing and textiles get recycled annually.
Using organic and sustainable fibers, Fisher hopes today’s clothing can become the raw materials of tomorrow. Factories in New York and Seattle manufacture the Renew brand, which her company will buy back from you when you’re done using it.
The gently used clothing is available online at a steep discount from the original, or it is recycled and reused for other products.
Fisher’s not alone. California-based Patagonia encourages shoppers to send in their clothing when they no longer want them. Customers can voluntarily send them in or sell the used items in good condition back to the company.
70 employees in Patagonia’s Nevada factory will repair the clothes, which are resold as “certified pre-owned” Patagonia clothing at discount prices.
If clothes are too worn to be donated or sold, they can be “upcycled.” That’s what they call the process of turning old clothing into new clothing or torn down into fibers for other use.
This closed-loop system of manufacturing and reuse also helps the environment in other ways. The worldwide textile industry consumes 98 million tons of resources annually. Fabric dyes have become a major source of pollution in India, China, and other countries.
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