Mind boggling article about fabric and fashion.
There are probably lots of industries contributing to various kinds of waste bad for the environment but I had not thought much about clothing waste.
The numbers mentioned in this article were pretty jaw-dropping.
Tucked away in the bowels of the Brooklyn Army Terminal is a 4,000-square-foot warehouse filled from wall to wall and floor to ceiling with garbage bags. They contain castoffs from New York’s fashion studios: mock-up pockets ripped from sample jeans, swatches in next season’s paisley print.
Nearly 6,000 pounds of textile scraps arrive each week to be inspected, sorted and recycled by five staffers and many more volunteers at FabScrap, the nonprofit behind this operation. Since 2016, it has helped New York’s fashion studios recycle their design-room discards — the mutilated garments, dead-stock rolls and swatches that designers use to pick materials and assess prototypes.
So far, the organization has collected close to half a million pounds of fabric from the design studios of large retailers like Express, J. Crew and Marc Jacobs and independent clothiers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Their discards have been shredded and recycled into stuffing and insulation or resold to fashion students, educators and artists.
Excess inventory is another huge problem and environmental disaster.
Last year, Burberry burned $37 million of clothing and cosmetics to maintain “brand value.” The previous year, H&M came under scrutiny after it was reported to have incinerated 60 tons of unsold merchandise.
There are some efforts by some businesses to recycle and re-use but they seem to be more marketing gimmicks than successful operations.
So what should be done?
Samantha MacBride, an assistant professor at Baruch College and a former waste management professional, said that the ideas big brands implement often reflect a lack of understanding about waste management.
The way to minimize trash, she said, isn’t by devising a green marketing strategy or using new technological fixes. “The key is to produce less,” she said.