WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SCRAPS?
We come to you! FABSCRAP will pickup your fabric scraps as soon as possible. We aim to create the most efficient routes, so we typically schedule multiple pickups per day. We'll give our best estimate of arrival time.
Please leave on headers and tags! It helps us identify the type of fabric. We will remove them - as well as any pins, paper, staples, tape, zippers, and buttons - as we sort the material by fiber content.
*VOLUNTEER TO HELP SORT! As a thank you, volunteers can keep any fabric they like! Sign up below.
The more the merrier! By working with multiple designers and brands, we can quickly meet the minimum volumes for recycling. We consolidate and store the scraps in bales at our warehouse in Jamaica, Queens.
You and/or your company may be approached by numerous individuals, organizations, or institutions who are interested in receiving unwanted material. Save time by directing all requests to FABSCRAP, which provides access to an even greater selection of material.
REUSE: Students, artists, crafters, quilters, sewers, teachers, and of course, other designers, can use this material. Click USE SCRAPS below to let us know what you need. If you can't come to the warehouse to "shop" the scraps, some larger pieces will be sold online>>.
RECYCLING: Small scraps and all material from black bags will be shredded to create insulation, carpet padding, furniture lining, moving blankets, etc. Whenever possible FABSCRAP will utilize fiber-to-fiber technologies. We currently sort for 100% cotton, 100% polyester, and 100% wool for this purpose.
Unfortunately, fabric containing Spandex, Lycra, or elastane cannot be recycled. If not reused, this material will be destined for landfill. We will continue to search for an alternative!
THE FOUNDER IS A TRASH NERD
Prior to launching FABSCRAP, Jessica Schreiber worked for the New York City Department of Sanitation as a Senior Manager in the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability. She helped launch and then managed the City’s e-waste and clothing recycling contracts, including re-fashioNYC >>, a residential clothing reuse program which recycled over 6 million pounds of clothing, and NYC’s first ever curbside clothing collection pilot.
Before that, Jessica majored in Biology at Arizona State University. In her Junior year, she created a recycling program for her dorm. During a discussion of sustainability, a professor said “scientists find and have answers, but they are terrible at communicating with the rest of us." Jessica immediately added a second major in Education so she could learn to make complex, technical, and mostly abstract topics more accessible, without losing the details and meaning. She continued to study the cross-section of science and communication in grad school, where she received a Master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University.
SOME BACKGROUND INFO
RESIDENTIAL VS COMMERCIAL WASTE
New York City residents throw out 200,000 tons of clothing, shoes, accessories, and linens every year. Textiles comprise 6% of the City's total waste stream. Residential waste - material that has been used and discarded by an individual or family - is picked up by the Department of Sanitation.
Commercial waste - what's discarded by a business - is picked up by private carters. There are few, if any, reporting requirements and enforcement of recycling regulations is lacking. Therefore, it's extremely difficult to quantify and characterize commercial waste. The best estimate is that it is at least 40x residential waste.
THE PROBLEM OF SCALE
Even if a designer wanted to recycle their textile waste, they would find it difficult due to a lack of infrastructure and a problem of scale.
Let's say one design office creates 20 boxes of unwanted fabric. This much material, of varied size and content, would quickly overwhelm arts organizations (there's only so much you can use in crafts!). However, industrial fabric recyclers require a minimum volume closer to 20,000 boxes (which would be impossible for the design office to store).
Both may require transportation arrangements and extra time spent researching all potential options or meeting with numerous individuals who may be interested in reuse.
The traditional non-profit accepts donations for free and resells items to cover their operational costs. Any additional revenue supports their charitable mission.
While the quantity of clothing donated may be increasing, the overall quality is decreasing. This means fewer items are eligible for resale in thrift stores. There is also more competition, as it is easier than ever to find new items at similar prices. Non-profits must mine donations for value and are becoming more selective.
Because commercial fabric scraps don't fit into the resell-at-thrift model and furthermore, require a different sorting process, most non-profits prefer not to take them.
THE FABSCRAP MODEL
FABSCRAP is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, though it flips the traditional non-profit model. The service fee covers operational costs and allows us to give away fabric to students, artists, local designers, and crafters for reuse. Rather than a receiving a tax receipt for the value of the donation, the service fee is tax-deductible.