My Start-up Will Turn Textile Waste into Local Jobs
Originally posted on SFGoodwill.org
My obsession with fashion and apparel is different than most. I don’t keep up with who’s wearing what or the latest trends of the season, but I am interested in learning about the social and environmental impacts the industry produces, especially around the issue of water.
Within two minute of reading about the “Rags to Revenue” challenge on Good, I had already created a profile on ImproveSF and was sifting through the ideas other community members had posted. It would take longer to develop the idea to start a home goods business that utilizes Goodwill’s textile waste and employs the formerly incarcerated – a concept that emerged after several conversations with my former environmental science lecturers from City College; local clothing store owners who sourced eco-brands; and my colleagues at the Pacific Institute, the sustainability think tank I work at which published research on the barriers to employment people face reintegrating after incarceration.
A few numbers from my conversations and research left me unnerved:
· California sends 506,000 tons of textile waste to our landfills every year.
· 78% of San Francisco’s offenders end up back in prison within three years of their release.
· 70-80% of the formerly incarcerated in California are unemployed.
The idea for creating Coming Home Goods grew from the genuine need to divert textile waste from our landfills and address the high unemployment rates among the formerly incarcerated...Continue reading.