How to recycle underwear gently


 

Problem...

 

Who could possibly want a used pair of underwear? Totally weird and a little gross right?

 

Our vision is to close the gap between luxury clothing brands and sustainability, without compromising on style or comfort. Being a sustainable business in 2017 requires thinking outside the box and bringing aspects of the business to attention that people don’t care to think about.

 

Simple Solution...

 

Used fabrics can be re-used in imaginative ways, and I’m not talking about donating them to charity, giving them to refugees or using them as rags at a car wash. We want to repurpose used undies into things like:

  • Carpet
  • Insulation
  • Filling for car seats
  • Stuffed toys and animals
  • Soles in our shoes
  • Boxing bags

 

There are already profitable businesses out there that want and need your old clothes to use for these sorts of things. It’s difficult to picture here in Australia because in many ways we are so far behind, but imagine having a “hole-in-the-wall”, or some of kind of vending machine that collects used, tired fashion items (like your holey undies), which then rewards you with discounts or other similar incentives. Something like the “Special Offers” that are on the back of your supermarket receipts, but better than a couple of cents off fuel. With H&M, Levi’s, Zara, TopShop and many other fashion stores and lines all introducing their own sustainability measures, surely something as progressive as this ‘recycling program’ would appeal to these brands and their carefully cultivated public images.

 

The Bigger Picture...

 

Here is another idea: “Free return to sender packaging”. Australia is geographically isolated, and our inexcusably, abhorrently high mail courier prices may prove an impediment to this happening, but imagine getting your underwear shipped to you in a resendable bag. On the cover of this bag is (of course) your address and inside is your precious new underwear, with its new underwear smell. Once you have gone through the process of admiring your purchase, trying them on and looking damn fine, you flip the bag inside out and find it has a “Return to sender” address printed there, ready and waiting. All you have to do then is shove in your old underwear, with its slightly less intoxicating old underwear smell, reseal the bag and pop it back into the nearest post box. Crazy right?

Yet, it’s not as insane, or downright strange, as it seems. A business in Sweden called RagBag has already developed this “return to sender” into a business. In Germany you can buy a crate of 24 beers from the supermarket, if you return the crate with all 24 empty glass beer bottles to a vending machine placed conveniently outside the supermarket, you receive a voucher for roughly 25% of what you paid to begin with. The ideas are there, the businesses work, the only hard part about these ideas is bringing them to Australia.

 

If you know of any other innovative sustainable businesses or practises we should explore, please share them with us in the comments below.

 


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