Every year, millions of tons of clothing are thrown out; The Renewable Workshop hopes to put an end to the waste.
Generally speaking, articles of clothing are thrown out for many reasons, often times because of rather minor issues like torn seams or broken zippers. One major source of waste comes from damaged returns when companies are often left with little choice except to discard the article in question. All in all, over 12.7 million tons of clothing and fabrics are thrown into landfills each year.
Now, one company is looking to curb the problem in an economically friendly way. Founded by Jeff Denby and Nicole Bassett, The Renewable Workshop has set its sights on “ending waste in the apparel industry.”
After partnering with a host of environmentally progressive clothing companies like Indigenous, Toad & Co., prAne, ibex, and Mountain Khakis, The Renewable Workshop takes returned or discarded apparel items and saves them from the landfill with a simple process.
First, everything is washed with hospital-grade, waterless washing machines. Then each item is carefully inspected to identify what repairs are needed. Next, specialists make the repairs so that the article is back to its original brand quality. And finally, it is resold. All of which happens at Renewable Workshop’s factory in Cascade Locks, Oregon.
“This leading-edge facility produces renewed apparel and creates jobs right here in America,” the company’s website explains. “A jacket with a broken zipper isn’t waste. We fix it and get it back out to where it was meant to be — keeping you warm as you explore the world.”
If an item can’t be saved by the Renewable Workshop it is responsibly upcycled, downcycled, or, if all else fails, recycled.
“We are creating the infrastructure and business models that will allow for a truly circular system for the apparel industry,” Denby said, according to Forbes.
Clothing from The Renewable Workshop will hit shelves this fall through its partner companies, where the fixed up items will be sold with as a Renewable Workshop item. For now though, the company pre-sold several items through an Indiegogo campaign that easily hit its $50,000 goal.
As the co-founders explain, “It was time to create a new system — a circular system — and build infrastructure to enable that system. And so, The Renewable Workshop was built.”
For their unimpeded desire to close the waste loop in the clothing industry, for their innovation, and for making a truly positive change in the world, we are proud to name Jeff Denby, Nicole Bassett, and The Renewable Workshop our Luminaries of the week.
For more information about The Renewable Workshop, visit their website.