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Behavior Change
Make Fashion Circular, NYC Partner to Tackle Clothing Waste

As well as being able to drop off clothing at stores and other collection points, New Yorkers will be encouraged to get involved by donating, repairing, reselling or swapping their old clothes to give them a new life.

This week, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative launched a collaborative campaign with New York City, to help save the metropolis’ clothes from languishing in landfills.

For #WearNext — a city-wide effort to tackle waste and pollution in the fashion industry — Make Fashion Circular will work alongside the New York City Department of Sanitation and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, along with collectors, recyclers and resellers.

Every year, NYC landfills 200 million pounds of clothing (equivalent to over 440 Statues of Liberty). Globally, 73 percent of the materials used to produce clothing are landfilled or burned at the end of their life, while less than 1 percent of old clothing goes on to be used to make new clothing.

Make Fashion Circular brings together top brands, designers, producers and city authorities to “radically redesign the fashion industry.” The initiative is leading international efforts to establish a circular economy for fashion, where business models increase the use of clothes, clothes are made from safe and renewable materials, and old clothes are used to make new ones.

The campaign has been initiated by:

  • Make Fashion Circular

  • New York City’s Department of Sanitation and Economic Development Corporation

  • Brands: ASOS, Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, H&M, Reformation and Zara

  • Collectors, resellers and recyclers: Bank and Vogue, Hallotex, I:CO, Lenzing, ThredUP

From March 4 to June 9, the #WearNext campaign will work to make sure NYC’s old clothes find a new life. Participating stores and other locations across the city — more than 1,100 in total — will act as drop-off points, marked on a first-of-its-kind online map, created by the NYC Department of Sanitation, that will make it as easy as possible for locals to save their unwanted clothes from being landfilled. New Yorkers will also be encouraged to swap, sell or repair their clothes; and share their stories on social media, using the hashtag #WearNext.

Make Fashion Circular lead Francois Souchet said: “As customers, we know where we buy our clothes and we know where we have worn them, but #WearNext is about the next stage of that journey: Where do our clothes go when we have finished with them? We believe clothes should never be trash. By bringing together these brands, along with the City of New York and recyclers, we have an opportunity to ensure New Yorkers can find a new life for their clothing.

“It is an important step, but we also need to recognize that customers alone cannot fix the fashion industry’s waste and pollution problems. We need the industry to work together to create a system where clothes are made from safe and renewable materials, new business models increase their use, and used clothes are turned into new ones.”

The campaign has been supported by global media agency Art Partner, which has produced a series of advertisements featuring the work of photographer Anthony Cotsifas, which will appear in LinkNYC Boards and bus stops across the city.

NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said: "Make Fashion Circular will help us reduce waste and promote fashion sustainability in a thoughtful and systemic way. We’re proud to be part of an initiative that will help us improve the environment and create a new path forward for the industry. We thank our partners at Ellen MacArthur Foundation and our fellow sister agency, DSNY, for their leadership on this program.”

Data about the amount of clothing saved from landfill and information on what happens to the clothes that have been saved will be collected to support Make Fashion Circular’s efforts to eliminate waste from the fashion industry. For more information on this work, visit