I’ve collected a lot of clothes over the years, but I don’t wear them all. Recently, I dug the un-wearables out of my closet and decided to take action. But what to do with all of them? Turns out, there’s plenty you can do with your old clothes—from repair to upcycling to recycling. In the spirit of making things last, here’s a handy how-to on keeping your clothes out of the trash.
People lost their collective minds over Apple’s recycling program this week—hailing the tech giant as a corporate Captain Planet. CNN Money declared that “Apple recovered 2,204 pounds of gold from broken iPhones last year.” The Verge praised Apple for recovering “nearly 90 million pounds of materials from Apple devices.” (Clearly, that new Liam iPhone recycling machine is working overtime.) The only problem: None of that is really true.
We’re not the only ones who get riled up about repair. Recyclers are also banding together for their right to reuse and repair equipment. Late last month, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) adopted a policy in support of their members’ efforts to reuse, repair, and reintroduce products back to the marketplace.
Dave Hakkens, creator of Phonebloks, went to the most infamous landfill and scrap site in the world: Agbogbloshie, which is repeatedly labeled as ground-zero for e-waste by press. The reality on the ground is more complex. Agbogbloshie isn’t just a burning e-wasteland—it’s a community of about 40,000 people. There are schools, homes, community centers, an onion market, scrappers, repair shops, and markets for used goods. So while Hakkens went to investigate e-waste, he found so much more.
In yet another fascinating episode of “Yeah science, bitch!,” it turns out that salmon semen is good for more than just making more salmon. Aside from being a delicacy in Japan, fish sperm (also known as milt) could just be the future of rare earth element (REE) recycling. Milt might make it possible to recover REEs from discarded electronics. Ain’t life stranger than fiction?
Christmas is the high-water mark of new stuff—and a lot of that new stuff is going to be electronic. As Wired’s Christina Bonnington pointed out yesterday, the mounting influx of shiny, thin devices is an environmental catastrophe just waiting to happen. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. If we’ve got any shot at meeting the e-waste challenge head-on, manufacturers are going to have to start giving a product’s end-of-life a lot more consideration.