Easy-collect aims to prevent used clothes going to landfill and make them recycled / upcycled / reused.
Only in the U.S., the amount of used clothes going to landfill is about 10.5 million tons - a year . According to EPA; recovery rate for all footwear, clothing, and other non-durable textiles was only 14.8 percent in 2013, (1.8 million tons) . And, it is even worse in a lot of countries (especially developing and underdeveloped countries) where options like donation boxes are strictly depended to municipalities' initiatives and not common at all.
Textile is one of the most harmful industries to the environment because of excessive water consumption, energy need and use of chemicals (dyes, fix agents etc.) ,. So, to extend the whole life cycle of the garment via recycling/reuse, not only reduces the load of the landfills but also helps to decrease the carbon footprint of the entire textile industry.
We are aiming to increase the ratio of reuse/recycling of used clothes, with a new web - based system. With this system, people send a request to the system. Then, their old clothes are collected from their house in return of payment or shopping voucher of contractual fashion retail companies. Or they are able to choose to donate to any charitable organization in the system.
Moreover, they earn social media badges for their actions. It is known that 'gamification' and 'social media badges' have some psychological effects of motivation such as status symbols, reputation etc.  .
Since the system motivates people with vouchers and/or social media badges for their donations, the system is superior than conventional systems like donation boxes and collecting spots.
Afterwards, collected used clothes are given to the charities and contractual manufacturers (to be used as input for recycled fabric, insulation material etc.).
By this way, more used clothes will be reused / recycled / upcycled which helps to eliminate the environmental impacts of some phases of textile and related industries; load of landfills will decrease and awareness will increase.
Category of the action
Reducing emissions from waste management
What actions do you propose?
By this project we mainly aim:
- Reduction in carbon footprint of textile industry.
- Better waste management system for textile and clothing cycle.
The actions our team will realize for the project at the initial phase:
- With the help of prototypes of web page and mobile application; arranging the agreements with fashion retail companies, textile recycle manufacturers and with courier companies. So, mainly forming the cooperation between the parts of the cycling loop. We already have some companies in our network. Nevertheless, to find the best companies matching in terms of environmental, financial, locational and reputation is an important issue. Textile recycling factories will be able to obtain input material for their processes and fashion retail companies will be able to use this as a part of their ‘corporate social responsibility’ projects.
- Then, a web page and a mobile application will be finalized and published. Via the application people will send a request to the system simply in 3 steps: choice of how many boxes of used clothes they want to give, addresse entry, choice of voucher or donation. Then, if they choose to donate they will earn a social media badge (e.g. ‘xx’ donated her clothes via e-collect and contributed to save the world). If they choose to earn a shopping voucher/ discount voucher, they will get a code.
- Marketing is also an important phase since reaching more people means bringing more used clothes to recycling. Social Media, press, radio/TV channels, social start-up mediums will be used for this purpose.
For the first step:
- The system will be applied to the biggest 3 cities of Turkey at first phase, reaching about 25 million people (one third of total population of Turkey). Istanbul is a city of 15 million people. Yet, there are only a few cloth donation boxes in Istanbul (belonging some NGOs). Which does not corresponds even the 1% of the need. Moreover, the examples around the world also shows us that, even though there are lots of donation boxes (like as it is in developed countries) people don’t want to spend time on carrying used clothes without any motivation. So, we aim to give the people motivation with vouchers, social media badges and more importantly enabling them to help recycling without spending any extra time and effort like to carry bags to somewhere else by taking them from their home.
After settling up a well organized and well known system, in time we want to expand our network and working area.
Apart from the system, there are some limitation of textile recycling:
- First of all, public awareness should be far more than today to have a more impactful processs. However, using vouchers, social media badges and media opportunities together with the contracted companies, awareness is expected to increase, as stated before.
- Moreover, lack of market demand and low values discourage the new investors for textile recycling. However, there are many important SMEs and companies that currently works on textile recycling and also there are governmental incentives and fundings for recycling in Turkey.
- A one technical limitation is that if the clothes are received wet or soiled, these may end up in landfill, as sorting units don’t have washing / drying facilities. However in this project as we collect the garment from people’s home and they will get an evaluation mark after they gave the clothes, we expect the rate of useless garment to be very low. Moreover, if the recycling process becomes lower / worse than the expectation, or even that's enough just to improve the process it is foreseen to collaborate with Textile Engineering / Technologies Departments of universities for the contracted recycling companies in the long term.
Who will take these actions?
- Non-profit organizations
- Industrial companies (textile, fashion retail and other)
Where will these actions be taken?
Developing countries (Turkey at first phase, as our team members know very well the business, industry and NGO network in Turkey and there is a huge textile waste management potential in Turkey) and then scale up to other countries with a more improved system.
What are other key benefits?
Another benefit is the increase in the awareness on environmental impacts of clothing among society.
As well as giving people a solid benefit such as a shopping voucher; giving social media badges are expected to motivate them and increase the awareness among the people around them.
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
Only in the U.K., over 30% of clothing goes to landfill at end-of-life (around and carbon footprint of this amount is 222 kg CO2e per tonne waste)  which is around 73m kg CO2e only in the U.K., by making the landfill less and manipulating this amount to reuse/recycle/upcycle it is aimed to eliminate this emissions.
What are the proposal’s costs?
- Set up cost: Set up cost to form the system (including web page and mobile app) is expected to be around 20,000 $.
- Cost for the printed material (bags / boxes etc.) and PR works: It is expected to be around 10,000 $.
- Operating costs: Interim storage rent 1,000 $ / month (12,000 $ / year). Personnel cost for classification and other works 4,000 $ / month (48,000 $ / year).
Total= 30,000 $ (initial) + 60,000 $ (per year) = 90,000 $
- Payment from textile recycling companies: 3 $ / kg (One of them e.g.  )
Total amount of waste (clothes going to landfills from home) in Turkey is around 500,000 tonnes . 3 big cities is population of 1/3 rd of total population. With an assumption of reaching only 30% of that total amount will be:
500,000 (x1000 kg / year) x (1/3) x (30/100) = 50,000 kg / year
50,000 kg x 3 $ / kg = 150,000 $
1st year: 150,000 $ - 90,000 $ = 60,000 $ / year Net Profit
2nd year and later: 150,000 $ - 60,000 $= 90,000 $ / year Net Profit (varying by inflation and some other parameters)
(except other incomes)
ROI (Return on Investment): 1.5 years
- Sponsorships:Courier companies: For transportation needs, full or partial sponsorhips (as part of their CSS strategies).
Fashion retailers: For gift coupons to be given to users, from their shops.
- Sells to second hand shops: Varying income.
P.S. The used clothes will be bought by textile recycling manufacturers. Based on our research, there are various companies located at organized industrial regions near the cities we planned to realized the project. These firms sell fabric pieces to various manufacturers and currently, they generally supply the fabric for their processes from the waste of textile and ready-made garment producers. And the used clothes will be a good input for them.
Setting up a well designed system at first step and making it common is expected to realize in short term in one country, then scaling it and to include more company, more NGOs and finally more people is the medium and long term expectations.
At first; 6-9 months is foreseen to set up a working system for the 3 biggest cities of Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir = A population of approximately 25 million people in total) and for PR and marketing works.