Fabscrap is repurposing New York’s textile waste into usable materials

New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, but what does the industry do with all its waste at the end of each season? After seeing the true magnitude of fabric scraps and swatches going to waste in the city, Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability employee Jessica Schreiber decided to do something about it. 

In 2016, Schreiber launched Fabscrap, a non-profit which collects fabric scraps from over 400 brands and sorts it by fiber. The sorted fabric is then weighed and sold by the pound at its Brooklyn HQ, Chelsea retail shop, and online store. So far, the company has kept nearly 600,000 pounds of textiles out of New York landfills. Fabscrap also lets its volunteers, like fashion students, take home scraps for free and donates materials to educational programs, women’s shelters, and event planners. Lastly, a New Jersey company takes the remaining 40 percent that cannot be resold and shreds it, turning the material into insulation for moving blankets or grade fiber for furniture.  

Schreiber started her initiative with seed money from Project Runway: Fashion Startup. Although the pandemic has disrupted her operations, she plans to open a Los Angeles branch by 2021. 

According to the EPA, textile waste takes up 5 percent of all US landfill space and is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Although New York City mandates that companies that generate more than 10 percent of their waste in textiles must recycle it, this is difficult to enforce in a city with over 900 designers. 

Fabscrap is taking scraps that would otherwise end up sitting in a landfill and repurposing them into usable materials. The non-profit has looked at the implications of one of the world’s dirtiest industries and found a viable way to make a real impact in reducing its carbon footprint. We are excited to see this program scaled up in other parts of the country in the near future!

Image source: Fabscrap

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Fabscrap is repurposing New York’s textile waste into usable materials

New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, but what does the industry do with all its waste at the end of each season? After seeing the true magnitude of fabric scraps and swatches going to waste in the city, Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability employee Jessica Schreiber decided to do something about it. 

In 2016, Schreiber launched Fabscrap, a non-profit which collects fabric scraps from over 400 brands and sorts it by fiber. The sorted fabric is then weighed and sold by the pound at its Brooklyn HQ, Chelsea retail shop, and online store. So far, the company has kept nearly 600,000 pounds of textiles out of New York landfills. Fabscrap also lets its volunteers, like fashion students, take home scraps for free and donates materials to educational programs, women’s shelters, and event planners. Lastly, a New Jersey company takes the remaining 40 percent that cannot be resold and shreds it, turning the material into insulation for moving blankets or grade fiber for furniture.  

Schreiber started her initiative with seed money from Project Runway: Fashion Startup. Although the pandemic has disrupted her operations, she plans to open a Los Angeles branch by 2021. 

According to the EPA, textile waste takes up 5 percent of all US landfill space and is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Although New York City mandates that companies that generate more than 10 percent of their waste in textiles must recycle it, this is difficult to enforce in a city with over 900 designers. 

Fabscrap is taking scraps that would otherwise end up sitting in a landfill and repurposing them into usable materials. The non-profit has looked at the implications of one of the world’s dirtiest industries and found a viable way to make a real impact in reducing its carbon footprint. We are excited to see this program scaled up in other parts of the country in the near future!

Image source: Fabscrap

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