Racked recently highlighted the work of Germany-based I:CO, a fabric recycling company that is doing great things for the environment. I:CO, which stands for I Collect, is committed to dealing with a big problem America faces: discarding 21 billion pounds of clothing and footwear annually. In order to fight this issue, I:CO has teamed up with the likes of H&M, Puma, The North Face, Levi's, and more to incentivize consumers to choose more sustainable clothing options.
I:CO has partnered up with these brands and set up programs encouraging customers to bring in unwanted clothing to retail locations, sometimes offering a financial incentive. The donated clothing is then shipped off to their factories in Germany, where they are sorted based on many different criteria so they can be recycled for an appropriate purpose. Some items are simply resold as vintage pieces, and others begin the upcycling process if they are no longer wearable in their current state. The salvaged materials are then respun with virgin materials to create fabrics for new pieces in the collections of some major brands. While the company is not making 100 percent recycled fabrics yet, it is hoping to do so in the near future.
The only criteria for participating in I:CO's program is that your company set up a donation center to send clothing to one of their facilities, making it easy for everyone to get on board with this, in a time when we need to be conscious of our planet's limited resources.