Mail-In Outfit Rescue Service Is Born

Textiles only comprise approximately 6% of landfill volume, and as such it was the last priority of waste management experts compared to things like tires, lightbulbs, e-waste – a far bigger problem that needed to be tackled first. Stewardship programs have done that brilliantly, and now textiles is next on everyone’s agenda. It is rumoured that in 2017 stewardship for textiles will be a real thing – and we are seeing hints of that happen in the marketplace.

Textile Waste Diversion was the first to be publicly supportive of industry shifts and we set up our infrastructure years ago to be ready when this time inevitably came.

The free market is very wise in picking up future trends, and large businesses have already popped up that for the first time deal with used clothing as a useable commodity as opposed to just a problem. Old denim is being used to make insulation, old sweaters are being used to make baby shoes, and the list continues.

This trend has also created a resurgence in small home based businesses that extend the life of products. Cobblers and seamstresses are back in demand! We celebrate the positive impact this trend is having on family businesses.

We came across one such homesteader in Wisconsin that turned her love of tie-dye into a home based service that artfully gives new life to your old favourite pieces that have become stained or colours out of date. People from all over the world mail Happy Hippie Husky their favourite pieces they just can’t bare to part with, and Sonia rescues the items & mails them back. This isn’t just your random tie-dye fun, Sonia is truly an artist that custom creates pieces based on the creative input of her clients.

Sonia told us, “The art of tie dye has witnessed its own resurgence in recent years. While most professional artists absolutely encourage at home experimentation there is a certain caliber of artistic quality that can only be met through many dedicated hours of practice.”

The Happy Hippie Husky is looking forward to launching their new website soon but in the meantime, you can arrange for an outfit rescue by reaching out to Sonia here:
Facebook.com/thehappyhippiehusky

Here are some photographs of her more recent rescues.

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Daniela Siggia Named New VP Development of Textile Waste Diversion

twd_logo_rev1.92Daniela Siggia has been named the new VP, Development of Textile Waste Diversion. Siggia takes on her new role effective June 6th, 2016.

Siggia began her career in customer service. When she was first made a director at TWD, she was tasked with providing expertise to municipalities in relation to pirate clothing bin operators, and to changing public perception to the environmental and economic benefits of textile landfill diversion.

After municipal regulations for clothing donation bins were put into place, TWD saw collections drop by two thirds. Siggia’s focus then became diversifying TWD’s collection streams to include services for thrift store charities, starting a telemarketing home pickup service and offering multi-unit dwelling collection services.

On her first day as VP, Siggia eliminated TWD’s telemarketing outreach dept in favour of postal and online outreach, and she is redirecting resources to develop a public education campaign about the potential Textile Waste Diversion offers the provinces.

Siggia is tasked with rolling out an automated process to manage TWD’s growing client base, and to oversee the development of a municipal waste diversion metrics system. This system will analyze the textile waste diversion patterns of residents in order to better plan municipal infrastructure to meet the unique needs of each community.

Other areas Siggia will be focusing on in her new role include:

  • Running a data collection pilot project in several municipalities across the province, implementing curb-side collection and other services to these areas
  • Building relationships with other private sector companies like property management companies to solve municipal waste diversion and other community problems at the private sector level
  • Assisting municipal governments in determining the best textile waste diversion stream, given the unique needs of each municipality, and to implement the infrastructure required to effectively reduce the amount of residential waste going to landfill
  • Working with smaller charity collectors in the sector to ensure that their market share is protected and not reduced by our expansion
  • Researching the economic viability of implementing new green technology to close the loop of textiles in Canada
  • Researching and finding solutions to the industrial textile waste market

“It is often very difficult for municipal governments to actually implement infrastructure and policy because of  red tape between departments, as well as partisan divisions and lobby influence within city Councils,” said Siggia. “The private sector is free of such obstacles, and I believe it is our duty to use our privilege to help communities become more sustainable and economically empowered.

“When the private sector comes together and works together, we are often better positioned to do things far more effectively and efficiently than government can. When municipal governments offer us either freedom or support, then we are in the best possible scenario for creating dramatic improvements both environmentally and economically.”

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

image“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” — Aristotle

Yesterday Bell Canada celebrated its Lets Talk About Mental Health Day, and over 100,000,000 text, tweets, shares and calls helped raise millions of dollars for mental health initiatives.  We were happy to participate in #BellLetsTalk on Twitter not only in celebration of Bell’s wonderful community building initiative, but also to show our support to the millions of Canadians living with mental illness.

What does textile recycling have to do with mental illness? A lot, when you are a committed barrier employer like TWD!

Life happens. Sometimes it’s biological, heredity or even life experiences that leave an imprint. For some, temporary life experiences cause temporary issues like anxiety or situational depression. Sometimes issues can arise that are very difficult to handle, and telling an employee to “leave your problems at home” is not the solution.

Every day 500,000 Canadians miss work due to some form of mental illness. At TWD, the opposite is true. Our staff have been known to show up on days off just for a laugh and a hug….and for some of staffer Marissa’s home cooking!

We know that when the work environment is loving and supportive, work can be a great therapeutic confidence building practice. At TWD we threw antiquated, restrained protocol out the window. We operate on the premise that love heals all things. We encourage a sense of humour, and embrace our eccentricities.  We are flexible, and offer options like telecommuting, job sharing and flexible scheduling to accommodate individual productivity rhythms.

We understand that financial stress can compound issues around mental illness. Our staff can sit with our president at any time and talk about anything going on in their lives, with no judgement. Whether it’s financial trouble or a broken heart, he’s always there to lend advice and a hand.

There are many jobs in the textile recycling industry that are well suited to employees suffering various forms of mental illness.

We have several employees that live with PTSD, meaning the social aspect of many workplaces can be problematic for them. Many of our team find great success working in maintenance. They work independently, during off-quiet hours, and some even job-share any customer contact tasks they’d rather not deal with. The physical aspect of the job is also therapeutic.The best part is, its a well paying job which helps to alleviating financial stress.

At the corporate level, we have found some of our most innovative thinkers and problem solvers also live with issues like anxiety, insomnia, or depression. We don’t have strict start times at corporate headquarters, we have to-do lists. As long as the work gets done well, we aren’t restrictive on when/how it happens.

Our therapy dog Sarah is also on hand every day to offer kisses and cuddles to anyone needing support. She’s very intuitive, and is always at the feet of employees experiencing stressful moments to offer affection.

Mental illness doesn’t have to be a barrier to success in the workplace. At TWD, we embrace the whole person, we are flexible and accommodating. Our staff is happy, productive and loyal.

It’s simple: Love is good for business, and we encourage all companies to adopt more open dialogue around issues of mental health.