There’s no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness

Zinhle Mshengu
Posted November 26, 2020 from South Africa

I am a girl from a small town, a community leader that is well groomed and purpose driven when it comes to issues of youth and the community at large.  I own a Clothing manufacturing factory and the amount of textile waste in the industry is shocking. Myself and a group of Environmental Science students decide to do something about it. We implemented a project called Revive which is a textile Waste rescue project that is aimed at addressing the issue of textile wastage and environmental pollution, which affects our ecosystem and livelihood. 

 

Textiles have one of the largest water footprints on the planet; some say it is the number 1 industrial polluter of water on the planet (after agriculture). From the irrigation of cotton crops at one end of the supply chain to the domestic washing of clothes at the other. It takes on average 10,000 litres of water to cultivate just one kilogram of raw cotton. A lack of capacity and water contamination are two problems that are forcing landfills to close, and reducing the waste that goes to these landfills is a very important option to consider. Water consumption is a huge part of the textile industry, the production of some textile can cause more water wastage and pollution than the others. 

 

As waste reduction becomes a growing problem across the nation and the world, “Revive” realizes that in this problem lies an opportunity for a solution. The consortium will be facilitating an Upcycling Creative Training & Skills Development Project for the Unemployed youth of Durban.

 

Our aim is to provide young people with experiential education opportunities by collecting  overstock inventory donations, primarily textiles, used clothes and converting them into marketable, repurposed items to be sold or donated. If the clothes cannot be upcycled or are not in good condition, they can be shredded and turned into rags, dog blankets, carpet underfelt blankets, transport/furniture removal blankets, and mattress pads

 

With upcycling as the vehicle, our vision is that young people will be driven, through this startup business project, to deepen their knowledge of environmental sustainability and promoting of new and creative ways of addressing the problem and create sustainable jobs

 

The potential growth of this project lies with the possibility of collaboration between different stakeholders within the social,  creative space and industrial design recycling sector so we can address sustainable social change, while we empower our youth.  Revive Project board would explore entrance into a physical retail space, which would greatly extend the project’s reach, show case our creative products and effect change. 

 

Social media will be used as a powerful tool to connect, educate, raise awareness and encourage fashion brands to take full responsibility of the whole life time of its garment. 

 

The project will leverage from donated textiles waste and other materials being used such as elastic, buttons, zippers, interfacing etc. may be purchased. But, all  fabric used must be from the garment provided.  Students will also be provided with personal hygiene goods (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorants, soap bars, body lotion)

 

The crafting industry is vast and un-limited, it’s an exceptionally good way for unskilled, lower income or previously disadvantaged individuals to start a business with the little they have. Revive can enable them to support their families. There is a huge demand internationally and locally for handmade crafts and the need for green products in the market absolutely justifies these individuals getting involved and learning crafts.

 

Students will be taught how to deconstruct a garment and reassemble using key parts of the garment. They will have several choices of projects that will be geared to their experience/skill level.

Once each garment is completely deconstructed, they will determine  what key elements of the garment will be used and parts they want to discard.

The pieces are then reassembled creating a completely different garment, the discarded pieces serve as extra fabric needed to make finished garment. Most to all of the original piece is used and ideas are given to utilize leftover fabric. This teaches the zero-waste concept.

 

 

Our unique approach to training and development requires more than just teaching someone a skill. We know and understand the requirements involved and the need to provide continual development, sustainability, motivation, and self-worth. We are therefore more in the business of developing one individual to their full potential than mass short term training workshops 

 

Textiles will be weighed as is get delivered at the factory which will determine how much resources will be saved. Data will be available and updated in our website 

 

We are looking forward to creating sustainable jobs and impact change 

 

This story was submitted in response to Sharing Solutions: Ending GBV.

Comments 15

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Sujit
Nov 26, 2020
Nov 26, 2020

Wish you success in your endeavours! Great initiative.

Jennifer Zeng
Nov 26, 2020
Nov 26, 2020

Dear Zinhle,

Great initiative! Very impressive. You are creating lasting positive impact on our environment and community! Well done.

Zinhle Mshengu
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Thank you so much

valem
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Dear zinhle how are you there?
welcome to the world purse community .
this place gives everyone a chance to raise their voices.

Zinhle Mshengu
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Thanks I’m excited to be here

Nini Mappo
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Hello Zinhle,
Welcome to World Pulse. I enjoyed learning about the textile industry in your detailed post. It reminds me of an ad in a thrift store around the corner, that their jeans are the most eco-friendly compared to brand new clothing because of the amount of water that goes into dying denim. You've got a solid plan there and it's phenomenal all decisions, the sorting, the complete process of upcycling is all very mind-boggling. I look forward to reading your future updates on this project.
All the best!

Zinhle Mshengu
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Aww sweet! The amount of textile waste is shocking, I had to do something about it! I will definitely share our craft made from used fabric! It’s gonna be amazing

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Dear Zinhle,
Welcome to the Pulse!
This is a great initiative. I love your solution oriented approach to creating arts of beauty.

There is really no beauty one one side looks ugly. Keep going and looking forward to reading more about this from you.

Zinhle Mshengu
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

thank you

Dawn Arteaga
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Wow what a powerful project you have imagined! I can see how this is not only kind to the Earth but to the women whose livelihood depends on the income and work. Well done! I hope you share photos of the clothes yo make. I’d love to see what you create!

Zinhle Mshengu
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Thank you, it’s not going to be an easy one! Most of our people don’t understand how serious this is and how it affecting our everyday lives! We have passionate and hard working women from the townships who are ready to make a change

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Dear Zinhle,

Welcome to World Pulse! It's a joy to have a new voice from South Africa rising up! We're happy you are here.

I love that you are looking after the planet and people with your textile business. Please keep on writing! We love to know more about you. Your story as a business owner is inspiring!

Welcome again to our growing sisterhood!

Zinhle Mshengu
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

This makes me keep pressing on! Will surely write more stories

Barry
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

I wish you Good luck in your endeavors. I do look forward to hearing more from you concerning this creative project as I could use some of your innovative ideas for a project I have coming up. Keep inspiring and encouraging through your story!!

Zinhle Mshengu
Nov 27, 2020
Nov 27, 2020

Thank you

“By using recycled materials and clothing to make high quality fabrics for new apparel, we can have a positive impact on the environment. By changing the way we think about clothes, we can change the world”, Juta