FABSCRAP, A Textile Reuse Nonprofit Collaborating with NYC Government Agencies and Design Studios

“There are things going on in every industry that we don't see because we don't want to…. Mountains of garbage are things we want to pretend don't exist.”

-SewCanShe.com

Unfortunately, the fashion industry is no exception to this (often hidden) issue.

New York City residents throw out 200,000 tons of clothing, shoes, accessories, and linens every year. Textiles comprise 6% of the city's total waste stream, according to FABSCRAP, a textile reuse and recycling nonprofit founded by Jessica Schrieber who worked for the NYC Department of Sanitation, Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability.

FABSCRAP considers themselves a “one-stop textile reuse and recycling resource” and on a mission to change the textile waste issue in New York. However, due to lack of infrastructure, it can be difficult for clothing designers to recycle their leftover textile scraps. That’s why FABSCRAP arranges pickups to collect textiles from residents, designers, and businesses.

So, what happens to the fabric after it’s been saved from landfill?

 
“When a fashion, interior design, or costume company signs up for our recycling service we send them bags to collect their unwanted fabric. Black bags are for any proprietary materials (things with logos or trademarked patterns), which will only be recycled. Brown bags are for everything else, and most importantly - the material inside can be reused. Everything we have in the Reuse Room at our warehouse, in our online store, or at pop-up sales comes from brown bags. Last year brown bags received outnumbered black bags 5:1!” ( @fabscrap Instagram )

“When a fashion, interior design, or costume company signs up for our recycling service we send them bags to collect their unwanted fabric. Black bags are for any proprietary materials (things with logos or trademarked patterns), which will only be recycled. Brown bags are for everything else, and most importantly - the material inside can be reused. Everything we have in the Reuse Room at our warehouse, in our online store, or at pop-up sales comes from brown bags. Last year brown bags received outnumbered black bags 5:1!” (@fabscrap Instagram)

 

Although FABSCRAP is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, much like Goodwill or other thrift stores, it’s run a little differently. By using a service fee to cover operational costs— costs that otherwise would need to be covered by grants or fundraising, FABSCRAP can give away collected fabric to students, artists, local designers, and crafters for reuse. Volunteers who help the nonprofit sort through textiles are also able to “earn” fabric for time spent sorting.

Textiles that are difficult to recycle are given to volunteers or community members. Some of the fabric “scraps” are large enough to be sold. If you are local to New York, an appointment can be made to purchase fabric at the FABSCRAP warehouse. Or, you can easily shop scrap packs or fabric by the yard on their website.

 
@ecofashionexpo  volunteering at the FABSCRAP warehouse. ( @fabscrap Instagram )

@ecofashionexpo volunteering at the FABSCRAP warehouse. (@fabscrap Instagram)

 

On the other hand, textiles that can be easily recycled are shredded to create things like insulation, carpet padding, furniture lining, or moving blankets.

With their innovative textile-reuse model and talent from the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability, DESIGN UP STUDIO, and Electronic Recyclers International, Most Prominent Co. is excited to announce FABSCRAP as one of our partners for the Make It Last Program.