One of the biggest issues surrounding the fashion industry is the amount of textile waste it produces. I’ve mentioned this issue before, but between all of the clothes we throw away every year, to all of the fabric that doesn’t get used during production, we’re creating one monster pile of textiles waste.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 15 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013. What’s worse, nearly 13 million tons of that was sent directly to landfill or incinerator, with a whopping 11 million tons coming from the U.S. alone. To quickly put that into perspective, that is about 82 pounds per U.S. resident or 30 times heavier than the Empire State Building.
And once all that garment waste goes to landfill, the story doesn’t get any better. The EPA estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5% of all landfill space), where it decomposes, releases greenhouse gases and contributes to global warming. Clothes made from natural fibers product greenhouse gases, while synthetic fibers can take hundreds of years or longer to go away. ANd in the meantime, all the bleaches, dyes and other chemicals used to process those textiles tend to leach into the groundwater.
And this really becomes a problem when you think about how much of that waste could actually be recycled — 95% to be exact. And if it were, it could make a huge impact on the environment — the EPA estimated that the 2.3 million tons of textiles that were actually recycled in 2013 was the equivalent of taking 1.2 million cars off the road.
Enter: Arvin Goods.
Arvin Goods creates eco-conscious, everyday basics made from all of the unused old fabrics out there.
Arvin began when a group of Pacific Northwest creatives and adventurers set out to create an apparel brand that reflected their commitment to quality design, as well as love for the planet and all the wild spaces it has to offer.
And because they value the planet, they put sustainability first. Each product they make made using state of the art “closed loop” recycling and production practices.
They start by recovering and recycling all the used clothing, fabrics, and textile scraps that I was talking about before. This means they don’t rely on water and energy dependent cotton farms or production facilities. It also means they save fresh water, lower CO2 emissions and reduce landfill waste.
Then they return all of those recycled materials into its most basic form — fiber. They combine the recycled materials with other recycled or responsibly sourced yarns to create a new versatile range of fabrics that can be turned into products like their super soft socks.
And, when it’s all said and done, Arvin asks that you donate your socks back to them so they can continue the loop.
In the end, the process to make one pair of Arvin socks saves 40 gallons of water; they prevent 20kg of CO2 emissions for every 1 kg of recycled cotton they use; and because they rely largely on solar energy, they contribute to an annual savings of 145 million kWh per year in energy.
Currently Arving is starting small, with only socks and underwear, but they have plans for the future — striving to develop the most sustainable and complete collection of goods ever.
And I, for one, am excited to see where this leads.