The environmental issue that I seek to address with my proposal is “Textile Waste”. On an average, American consumers discard close to 70 lbs of clothes and textiles in a single year. As per the Environmental Protection Agency, 85% of the textiles discarded are not recycled. While huge amount of post-consumer-use textile waste is converted for industrial usage such as noise reduction, upholstery fillers and 50-60% of the people donate used clothing to charities or community thrift shops;even then textile waste alone contributes to around 5% of the landfill space.
Textile waste is generated in every household in America and constitutes of nearly 20-30% of the waste generated by one household alone. Then there are retailers and distributors which generate even greater amounts of textile waste. Most communities in America have systems in place to address plastics, aluminum and paper related wastes recycling. People are growing conscious about recycling and about landfill wastes. Although there are charities, thrift shops and internet selling capabilities that many consumers adopt to give away unwanted clothes, there is still a need to address the issue of collection of other textile waste that is completely incapable of being sold or salvaged. Such textile waste lands up as landfill waste and there are no such systems in place for addressing proper collection of Textile Waste from American households.
It is imperative to arrest Textile Waste since clothes and textiles that end up in the landfill might not have reached its End-of-life (EOL) and could be reused for another cycle at a very low cost.
The solution that I am proposing is “ANT© – Almost New Totes”, a Not-for-profit Organization dedicated to reducing Textile Waste. The concept of ANT© is inspired from ants, which have a positive impact on the soil nutrient levels and are known as Ecosystem Engineers. In the same way, I aim to create unique Almost New Totes from used clothes/ textiles and extend the product End-of-Life (EOL) by at least one cycle. This will help to abate the intensity of textile waste and increase awareness on the importance of elongating product-life-cycle through my brand.
ANT© would rely heavily on vendors like fashion design studios, boutiques, charities and fashion schools in New York City who would want to have an ethical EOL for any kind of textiles that they discard. Unique Almost New Totes will be created from this collection and will be sold at ANT© Studio.
ANT© would also provide a value added service for those clients who would like their own custom made Almost New Totes from their own worn clothes. ANT© will convert their clothes/textiles into fashionable totes based on the requirement.
ANT© is unique as a solution. ANT© is based on a four-step business model: Collect-Create-Sell-Recycle which would ensure that any unusable textile waste generated from ANT© would be recycled back into the same process. To help achieve ground on reducing textile waste going to landfills, I aim to align ANT© with the goals of Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) to achieve zero textile waste going to landfill by 2037.