Textile recycling

Initially, in 2020, we considered upcycling initiatives to handle unusable clothing and fabric waste. Our sewing community upcycled some of these items to create a curtain for our retail space Saturdays, but we found that a lot of these stained, ripped and very worn garments were actually unsuitable for any planned upcycling projects. With this in mind, we began exploring options for textile recycling.

In December 2022, we began sending these end-of-life garments to UPPAREL. Founded by Michael and Tina Elias, who have spearheaded sustainability and circular principles from day one in Australia, UPPAREL was operating here, out of a warehouse in Onehunga, and Jeff Vollebregt was at the time, the director of UPPAREL here in Aotearoa. 

Within ten months, we recycled 219.5kg of end-of-life textiles and prevented 768kg of greenhouse gas emissions through our partnership.

UPPAREL has brought us—and many others across Australia, one step closer to some sort of utopia where our waste could become something else. 

Last year, we collected, sorted and recirculated 17,000 garments. This figure does not include the unusable clothing we receive, which has exhausted end-of-life. These items represent approximately 20% of our public donations, and they are largely fast fashion brands. 

In mid-December last year UPPAREL in Aotearoa, New Zealand, was rebranded to ImpacTex and it is no longer possible for us to recycle our textiles locally. However, we remain committed to 100% diversion of textiles from landfill. For future updates, follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter.