Textile Waste in Vancouver: A sharing by Alex Okrainetz

Yesterday morning I attended a Sustainability Breakfast Series on Textile Waste put on by Metro Vancouver. Here’s what I learned!

25% of what you donate to thrift stores actually gets sold.  So… where does the remaining 75% go?

It gets purchased by a sorter grader! Donation bins and thrift stores are the gateways to sorter graders.  The sorter graders take all our excess textiles and either:

  1. Re-use by sorting into over 360 different categories and re-sell to markets (often overseas)
  2. Recycle fibre by exported textiles to be broken down and turned into new materials to give them a new life
  3. Make wiping cloths from damaged textiles for painters

Did you know that…

  1. It’s actually ok to donate used pillows, stained and hole-y clothes, and single shoes? Items like single shoes can be paired with similar ones and sold!
  2. There is a market for down? So, donate your old winter jackets if you don’t need them anymore!
  3. Thrift stores often don’t have space to keep out of season clothes? These garments may go straight to the sorter graders!

Some thoughts to leave you with:

  1. REPAIR your clothes to extend their life instead of abandoning them as soon as they get hole-y. 
    • Frameworq Education Society organizes monthly community textile fix-it workshops in Vancouver – learn basic mending and sewing skills to keep your old and tattered clothes out of the landfill!
  2. REHOME and extend an item’s lifespan
  3. ASK and question what you consume.
    • Who was exploited so that your t-shirt could cost $10?
    • When the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup finals what happened to all the celebratory apparel that was made and never sold?
    • What happens to all the fast fashion clothing that are mass produced but never sold?
  4. ENGAGE with local individuals and groups who are contributing to the solution:

DRAFT 1If you know of any other organizations or individuals that are playing a part in the war against textile waste, comment them in the section below! 👇🏼

Share this post with your friends, family and community, and start a conversation with someone about your textile consumption (and waste). What else can we do? 🗣🌎🌿

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