ROC: Saving Clothes, Helping People

» Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in Case Studies, Human Capital, Recycling, Sustainability | 0 comments

ROC: Saving Clothes, Helping People

Over the past three years, REvolve has initiated and executed projects that more clearly define and utilize the wide range of value embedded in textiles. An incredible opportunity presented itself in the fall of 2014, when we partnered with Portland non-profit Central City Concern (CCC) to divert left behind textiles from landfill and redistribute them to people in need.

CCC operates a robust housing program for people who are transitioning from homelessness into self-sufficiency. These individuals are particularly prone to experiencing crises, which can lead to them abruptly leaving their homes. In this case, people leave behind assorted items: clothes, linens, housewares, etc, most of which CCC was forced to throw away if they remained unclaimed. In addition, CCC has thousands of new clients and residents enter their programs every year, many of whom arrive with few possessions.

Instead of sending what is left behind to landfill, there was an opportunity to provide new clients access to the items that are still in good condition. In order to accomplish this goal, a sorting and redistribution system to manage thousands of pounds of clothing and other housewares every month needed to be developed and implemented.

Together, REvolve and CCC launched a pilot project whose goals were to divert as much as possible from landfill, help those in need, and provide insight into new frameworks for textile collection and sorting. CCC was so encouraged by the pilot’s results, they adopted the program, created a new Recycling and Reuse Coordinator (RRC) position to staff it, and built out a space to continue the effort. This new facility is appropriately named the Recycling and Reuse Operations Center (ROC).

CCC has achieved an 84% diversion rate on clothing, footwear, linens, and housewares processed at the ROC. From the launch of the pilot in October 2014 through March 2016, more than 10 tons of clothing and housewares have been saved from landfill. At the current volume, the program will save approximately 15 million gallons of water and 173,000 pounds of CO2 emissions through textile reuse and recycling every year*.

REvolve is thrilled and honored to be a part of this work, and we are excited to incorporate what we’ve learned during this project into textile sorting and redistribution models that will support closed loop textiles.


* Approx. 2/3 of the ROC’s total volume is textiles. Calculations are based on a pilot program textile diversion rate of 90%, an average monthly ROC volume of 3000 lbs, and impact data from the Bureau of International Recycling. The ROC diversion rate of 84% is for textiles and other materials combined.

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