FORT COLLINS, Colorado — Textile waste, like discarded fabric, is a growing problem for our environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported the U.S. throws away more than 11 million tons of clothing every year.
That is why some small business clothing shops spotting the problematic trend are beginning to recycle in ways they haven’t before.
“Anything we can do to repurpose and not throw away fabrics is really important to us,” said Maggie Hendricks, the owner of Create Good Company.
Create Good Company is a clothing company dedicated to sustainable clothing to prevent textile waste and repurposing older clothing into updated fashionable items.
"If you can revamp what you find, why wouldn't you do that instead of buying new things?” Hendricks asked. "It's a big issue to not create new waste. I would say we are 90% recycled materials."
Textile waste is something that has piled up tremendously in the last 10 years. According to the EPA, the average consumer throws away 81.5 pounds of clothes every year.
"Anywhere between 10-17% of the trash that's going into landfills is things like textiles and clothing,” said Danny Katz with the CoPIRG Foundation. "A lot of the clothing that we're producing doesn't even get worn, so it's going right to the landfill or even worse being incinerated and contributing to pollution that way."
This is why businesses like Create Good Company exist— to use outdated clothing like old flannels and turn it into dresses or jackets. Ultimately, this business model can help keep waste out of landfills that contribute to climate change.
"There's just so much waste and so many big companies that might not think about it,” Hendricks said. “Just aligning yourself with other like-minded people who are interested in sustainability and thinking outside the box is important. There are some things that we can't do without. Elastic has to be new cause it will deteriorate over time, but I think it's fun to find material that you are presented with than finding brand new."
Another important element Hendricks has focused on is creating these items and selling them at an affordable price.
"Sustainability sometimes is greenwashed in companies and they make things more expensive,” Hendricks said. “That's not how we become a sustainable world. I think making products and pricing affordable is important to me. I want to shop sustainably. I want to find things that are better for the environment without throwing my pocketbook in the fire."