Upcycle — verb — Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with not needing or wanting something anymore. The problem is what we do with all of our unwanted stuff.
“In 2006, Americans generated more than 11.8 million tons of textile waste, which represents 10 pounds for every person. Every week, one factory can dispose of about 60,000 pounds of textile waste that goes into landfills. Clothes that are discarded not only contribute solid waste in landfills, but also are part of a system that uses energy and creates carbon emissions in transit to distant lands.” — LOOPTWORKS
Some of the key benefits and added sustainability as a result include:
- A reduced production time: Typically, from design to manufacturing to shipping, clothing production would take up to 54 weeks at best. LOOPTWORKS can do the same in 12 weeks using less resources.
- Truly unique: Using high-quality excess materials means that there’s a limited run on lines. Each item in their limited run is hand-numbered and one-of-a-kind.
- Cuts back on creating more waste: LOOPTWORKS has no desire to create clothing that has to be replaced in six short months. Each item is built to last, cutting back on the frequency in which you’d look to replace your clothing.
Co-founder, Scott Hamlin, maintains that LOOPTWORKS is tackling a bigger component in sustainability: pre-consumer waste. They do so by eliminating the need to go out and find components to make their clothing materials and simply using the excess materials normally tossed away in other processes.
Their practices have been getting a lot of positive attention with a shout-out in O Magazine, an endorsement by Al Gore, and LOOPTWORKS has received the Innovation in Sustainability Award from the Portland Business Journal.