America has a problem with clothes, and we’re not talking about the reemergence of JNCOs. Each year, we throw away 10 million tons of clothing — meaning that the massive quantities of water, fossil fuels, and other resources that go into making our textiles go to waste. Now, a new startup hopes to address this problem by refurbishing the slightly damaged clothes that retailers can’t sell and would otherwise end up in the landfill.
The Renewal Workshop, as the Guardian reports, is an Oregon-based startup with over a million dollars in venture capital. The company has partnered with retailers prAna, Indigenous, Toad & Co., and Ibex, who send excess stock, returns, and damaged goods — think sweatshirts with broken zippers, for example — to the company’s repair shop. Once said zippers are fixed, the sweatshirts are sold online at a lower price. Eventually, The Renewal Workshop hopes that partner brands will begin selling their own refurbished goods as well.
Tackling the clothes waste problem isn’t exclusively relegated to West Coast startups. Last year, H&M — perhaps in an attempt to roll back its reputation as one of the world’s foremost purveyors of disposable rompers — recently launched a million-euro grant for the development of garment recycling technology. It’s a positive trend — unlike, say, JNCOs.
Why do cheap clothes matter for the climate? Watch this: