Friday, May 29, 2009

Why Textiles?

Textiles are one the most common household items and represent a staggering proportion of the solid wastestream: approximately 16kg per person, or a total of 33,600 tonnes in Metro Vancouver in 2006, to give you an idea.

Despite the volume of this waste, few options exist to reuse or recycle salvageable textile items - and next to none for those items that can not be resold. As a result, these textiles end their still-functional lives in the landfill or waste-to-energy incinerator.

Our Social Fabric believes that this unnecessary waste can be not only be avoided, but channeled to create positive change in Vancouver's most impoverished neighbourhood. Aside from the obvious benefits of reducing the waste we are diverting to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities, textile recycling can have a direct impact on the socio-economic viability of the downtown east side. Jobs are needed now, and our goal is to recycle donated and salvaged textiles into new products, from clothing to utility products.

We invite Metro Vancouver residents to get involved by donating their textiles, time, or resources to this innovative initiative. Witness and take part in the birth and growth of this unique venture, which not only benefits the environment but the economy and all citizens of our community.

Our first project: RUTH

Social Fabric's first project, Recycling Used Textiles Humanly (RUTH), seeks to provide employment to marginalized citizens and remanufacture materials that would otherwise go into the landfill. Operational activities will include:
  • collecting textile garments
  • sorting into reusable and non-reusable
  • shredding all non-reusable items and weaving fibres into bolts of fabric
  • designing, manufacturing, and marketing quality textile items for sale in Metro Vancouver
  • providing the stimulus and opportunities for education on the social and environmental benefits of textile recycling and the potention for job creation
RUTH is unique! To the best of our knowledge there exists no such initiative in North America.