The fashion industry is one of the major polluters in the world, affecting nearly every aspect of environmental pollution; air, water, and land pollution. The widespread effect of fashion has made it difficult to effectively rank its impact. Some researchers have stated that the industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s carbon footprint.
An item’s entire life cycle contribute to these estimates; the farming of crops/manufacturing of synthetic fibers, the manufacturing and distribution of the item, and the care/disposal.
How bad is fashion waste in New York City?
While we may not be aware, NYC’s textile waste is substantial.
NYC is the fashion capital of the world, home to various designer studios, factories and ateliers. Just in New York City residents throw out 200,000 tons of clothing, shoes, accessories, and linens every year.
It is believed that commercial textile waste is forty-times residential amount. This waste is often handled by private companies who aren’t always obligated to track data or enforce recycling regulations.
After working for New York City Department of Sanitation as a Senior Manager in the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability, Jessica Schreiber founded FabScrap.
What is FabScrap?
FabScrap is a non-profit textile recycling company designed to meet NYC’s textile waste needs. FabScrap handles company waste by taking the most energy efficient routes. They sort through labeled bags with volunteer help and determine how they can reuse textile waste by reselling or recycling.
FabScrap provides companies with reports on their waste and retains textiles that aren’t recyclable yet. They receive waste from over 100 different companies, including luxury fashion brands like Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta (this is on the website, don’t sue me).
FabScrap provides opportunities for brands to decrease the amount their waste, something that may have been previously unavailable to them.
At the end of the year FabScrap provides companies with a report on their waste. This would ideally allow companies to better manage certain aspects of their production or sourcing.
With the exponential growth of this company since founding in 2016 and as a result, there is no doubt FabScrap has ignited a demand for textile waste control in NYC.
I had the opportunity to spend a day volunteering at FabScrap, read about it here!