Helpsy is the Largest Clothing Collector in the Northeast and Our Latest Donation Partner

According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates, 11,940 tons of clothes were produced in 2015. Of that amount, 8,240 tons ended up in landfills.

That means almost 70% of clothes being produced in the United States is being thrown away.

Rachel Kibbe is setting out to change that. She’s the cofounder of Helpsy, an innovative textile collection company. With over 1,800 clothing donation containers, Helpsy states that “unlike most container businesses we have one purpose: to keep clothes out of the trash.”

For many of us, clothing donation containers seen outside of businesses, in parking lots, and around our neighborhoods is nothing new. Most of us know the drill— use the KonMari method on our clothes, find a collection container, and drop off clothes that no longer interest us.

But what happens after that? Where do the clothes go? Are they donated, recycled, or none of the above?

 
“I like to show the behind the scenes of clothing collection because, while not clasically beautiful, traditionally ‘Instgrammable’ or fashionable, it’s real. The trash bags, the bales, the forklifts, the mass quantities of stuff and trucks and machines it takes to deal with that stuff. All of our stuff. Until we stop consuming, or cut consumption drastically, this is what it takes to handle even a tiny fraction of that stuff. As much as we can help that stuff NOT wind up in the trash at HELPSY, we’re happy. It’s important to not cover up the trash bags, the metal, and what this looks like. The reality looks a lot like waste management, because it is. As with everything: until we see things for what they are , we don’t know how to solve the problem!” - Rachel Kibbe

“I like to show the behind the scenes of clothing collection because, while not clasically beautiful, traditionally ‘Instgrammable’ or fashionable, it’s real. The trash bags, the bales, the forklifts, the mass quantities of stuff and trucks and machines it takes to deal with that stuff. All of our stuff. Until we stop consuming, or cut consumption drastically, this is what it takes to handle even a tiny fraction of that stuff. As much as we can help that stuff NOT wind up in the trash at HELPSY, we’re happy. It’s important to not cover up the trash bags, the metal, and what this looks like. The reality looks a lot like waste management, because it is. As with everything: until we see things for what they are , we don’t know how to solve the problem!” -Rachel Kibbe

 

It’s really hard to know. That’s where Helpsy is changing things with their transparency-first approach:

“95%....is reused, upcycled or recycled. 75% is reusable, 20% is recyclable. It is first sorted by our partners and divided into grades. The higher grades are resold to thrift stores in North America and other second hand markets around the world. The lower grades get turned into rags for industrial use or things like stuffing and insulation. Clothing reuse is a big deal. It reduces the enormous environmental burden of the second most polluting industry in the world.”

And being a fairly new company hasn’t stopped Helpsy from making a huge impact:

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“In a little over a year, we've become the largest clothing collector in the Northeast—we collected 20 million pounds in a year!”

Although the main purpose of Helpsy is to drastically reduce the amount textile waste, they aren’t stopping there—

“In addition, we also work with local charities to ensure those who need clothes get them—we’ve donated 13,000 coats to New York Cares to keep people warm during the winter months.”

 
Helpsy at  REMODE , the premiere event for disruptive and sustainable fashion.

Helpsy at REMODE, the premiere event for disruptive and sustainable fashion.

 

This altruistic spirt has landed Helpsy the recognition of being a certified B Corporation. Becoming certified as a B Corporation isn’t the easiest feat, as it evaluates legal framework, measur[ing] a company’s entire social and environmental performance.

With all the great work they’re doing, Most Prominent Co. is excited to announce Helpsy as a donation partner option for our Make It Last Program set to release this month. Make It Last is a garment repurposing program that promotes a circle economy culture, giving people an opportunity to control their impact and give their unwanted garments a second life.

Most Prominent Co. is happy to answer Helpsy’s call, and hope you will too.

In Helpsy’s words, “Partner with us to save the world — one sad, holey sock at a time.”