2013 Projects
ANT – Almost New Totes
Devashree Saha

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.

  • SG

    Really unique concept towards making the tomorrow a better place to live…All the best…

    • Devashree Saha

      Hi SG. Thanks for your encouraging words. It means a lot. My aim is to start locally and then introduce the 4th step in fashion and retail businesses – recycle. Recycling textile waste helps to add at least one more cycle before the textile waste reaches its end of life. If you believe in it, please spread the word…! Regards

  • Shampa

    The 4 step business model: collect create sell recycle is a simple and very catchy one! Keep it up. A very sustainable business model. Good luck Dev.

  • rahul godbole

    A very good idea. We see this implemented in Indian tradition in so many places. Blankets for babies from grandmother’s old cotton saree is just one example I have recently experienced.
    Best of luck on your project.

    • Devashree

      Hi Rahul !! Thanks a lot for your support. Infact there is a similar ‘saree blanket’ that I still hold on to very dearly since more than a decade now. The best part is, I can vouch it is still very comfortable and comforting.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Devashree – Really love the idea of tackling textile waste. But I wonder if tote bags are the answer: how many bags do people really need? Are you taking a drop-in-a-bucket approach, or do you see a very large-scale use for this? I see the greatest strength in your four-step business model, and in targeting textile waste: look forward to seeing you move forward with this!

    • Devashree

      Hi !! At the germinating stage of my social innovation the concept is very much a drop in the bucket. The long term plan of this innovative concept is to create an efficient model of 100% collection of all textile waste through networks and collaborations with various vendors and supplies so that I can assure that every textile waste is recycled ‘at least’ once, if not more. Thanks a lot for seeing potential in my project and supporting it.

  • Sumita Mukherjee Dutta

    Hi!!!!!!!!!Devashree it’s really a great & innovative idea…..all the best fr u & keep it up.

    • Devashree

      Thank you so much for the support !! Means so much 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/srijankundu Srijan Kundu

    Loved the Idea

    • Devashree

      Thanks for your support Srijan !!

  • Marta

    Great idea, catchy name and business plan. Totes could be just one of the products. You could produce pillows, wallets… Good luck

    • Devashree

      You completely got it Marta…!! “Almost New Anything” …is something I have planned as part of the long term goals for ANT. Thanks a lot for the encouragement.

  • MermaidD

    This concept/idea should be promoted to cities and smaller towns across the nation! We have the capability to recycle – it is just not encouraged enough. Excellent idea!

    • Devashree

      Thanks a lot for the appreciation and insight towards my project. I have put in a lot of hardworking and am looking forward to collaborating its like minded people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ananth.madhav Ananth Madhav

    A very good idea. We see this implemented in Indian tradition in so many places. Blankets for babies from grandmother’s old cotton saree is just one example I have recently experienced.
    Best of luck on your project.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reena.joseph.37669 Reena Joseph

    gr8 idea ! keep up the good work.

    • Devashree

      Thanks so much for the appreciation and support..!! Means so much to me..

  • Neeti Banga

    Great concept, keep it up.would u do the collection drive n store in Delhi too ?


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