Daily Newsletter

11 September 2023

Daily Newsletter

11 September 2023

Walmart Foundation funds US recycling hubs for unsellable textile waste

Walmart Foundation grants $1.2m to US non-profits Goodwill Industries International and Accelerating Circularity to recycle unsellable textile donations and promote a circular economy.

Isatou Ndure

The grant provided by Walmart Foundation, which is the charitable arm of US supermarket chain Walmart, aims to help local Goodwill organisations acquire the necessary skills, systems, and infrastructure to transform textile waste.

There are 25 local organisations that will use the fund to learn how to produce post-consumer textile feedstock that aligns with recyclers’ stringent specifications. Staff members will also be educated and trained on the sorting and feedstock preparation process.

The project says it will receive leadership from local organisations such as Goodwill Industries of Tenneva Area, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, Goodwill Industries of Ontario Great Lakes, and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan.

Goodwill Industries International director of sustainability Brittany Dickinson expressed the organisation’s dedication to scalable, circular, and traceable textile solutions: “We see textile-to-textile recycling as a key pathway for donations that are unwearable and at their end of life. Establishing regional Goodwill collaborations for textile circularity supports our role as a critical player in the circular economy and aligns with our organisational sustainability strategy.”

Goodwill Industries and Accelerating Circularity’s textile-to-textile feedstock hubs

The local Goodwill organisations are also modelling and testing regional textille collaboration hubs. It is hoped these hubs will be replicated across the extensive Goodwill member network, offering a blueprint for other social enterprises seeking to enhance textile circularity.

Sarah Coulter, director of operations and special projects for Accelerating Circularity emphasised the unique role played by the organisation in creating connections that facilitate the mainstream adoption of post-consumer textiles as raw materials.

Coulter noted that Accelerating Circularity has been at the forefront of designing and implementing this programme, offering subject matter expertise, programme management, relationship building, and training and tools development at the participating Goodwill locations.

Karla Magruder, president and founder of Accelerating Circularity added: “We see an opportunity to advance our mission by supporting Goodwill’s effort to transform textiles destined for salvage into higher-value recycling feedstocks by sorting to spec, removing trims and other irritants, and aggregating sufficient volumes to support full commercialisation of textile-to-textile systems.”

Accelerating Circularity launched its Textile-to-Textile Recycling Playbook in June to help stakeholders implement circular systems within the fashion supply chain.

Traditional AI is here to stay in the retail and apparel space

Initially, retailers used AI for basic tasks, including inventory management and demand forecasting. However, its usage has now become more prevalent in other aspects such as personalized marketing, customer service, pricing optimization, and supply chain management. With the rise of ecommerce and the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making, AI adoption in retail and apparel has accelerated. The industry now relies on AI to enhance the shopping experience, optimize business operations, and gain an overall competitive edge.

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