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into a home based service that artfully gives new life to your old favourite pieces that have become stained or colours out of date.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:
Here are some photographs of her more recent rescues.
Forests Ontario is excited to be hosting the 2016 North American Envirothon (NAE), a program of the National Conservation Foundation, this summer from July 24-29 at Trent University in beautiful Peterborough. This exciting event will bring over 500 visitors from over 50 states, provinces and territories together to compete for the championship title and learn all about what Ontario has to offer.
Textile Waste Diversion will be setting up a treat booth at the 26th evening event supplying some of Ontario’s favourite treats – Candied apples & fruit pastries from Tim Hortons – after all, it’s berry season in Ontario!
What does any of this have to do with recycling textiles? Indirectly, everything!
In the reclamation sector, the people in government we deal with most often are from the waste management/operations sector. Many people that work in that sector are graduates from various environmental science post secondary programs. Forests Ontario programs such as NE Envirothon really help to grow our leaders of tomorrow by giving them practical experience that may inspire interest in environmental sciences.
Canada has a wonderful opportunity for future economic development around green technology. We are perfectly positioned to be environmental leaders not only locally but around the world. We need more people studying various sciences in order to advance this industry in ways that can truly energize and sustain our economy on the long term.
We feel the best way that we can secure a bright future for employees of textile recycling is by helping to grow leaders that are educated in the environmental sciences that can then join the sector with progressive solutions that will help us maximize all the wonderful opportunities new green technology offers Canada.
One of the value-added services that Textile Waste Diversion offers the province is our support of programs that grow our environmental leaders of the future. We do that in part by supporting wonderful programs such as forests Ontario’s North American Envirothon and we look forward to deepening our relationship with forests Ontario because at the end of the day, most environment industry employees of all sectors are tree huggers at heart. In this case, it’s not about the clothes, it’s about our love and dedication to the environment and the future of this sector.
One of the questions we are asked most commonly is “what can I do with my fabric scraps?” It turns out that Ontarians are amazing crafters and sewing is a very popular hobby, likely thanks to those long winter months we are stuck indoors!
Although we are a long way away from indoor weather, we have been receiving quite a few inquiries of late so we thought we would give you some ideas.
In a pinch, feel free to throw your odds and ends in with the things you contribute to our 50 million pound pilot project . Believe it or not, these little bits are given to cat toy manufacturers or are sometimes included in upholstery applications.
Score extra environmental points by finding applications in which to reuse your fabric scraps! There are dozens of ways that you can use even tiny bits of fabric for different practical crafts as well as creating fabulous art.
This link offers 100 ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
This video shows you what you can do with the really tiny bits!
Remember, even if you can’t use the wonderful crafts that you create from this material, when you add this to your recycling contribution, it actually adds more value to the collection than if you were just to add the scraps on their own, and you know that someone somewhere in the world will actually love, use and enjoy your handiwork!