"Fashion's an industry that thrives on newness, and one unfortunate side effect of that is waste. Americans alone discard 21 billion pounds of clothing and footwear every year. Fortunately there's I:CO (it stands for I Collect), a company committed to fighting this problem. I:CO has partnered with brands like H&M, American Eagle, Levi's, North Face, and Puma to wean each off its natural resources addiction, working to replace those materials with recycled options over the next five years.
The company was founded in 2009 by a Swiss man named Stephan Wiegand to solve the textile waste problem. Instead of dumping clothes into a landfill, I:CO provides an alternative where consumers can donate unwanted items to local retailers. Clothing is then delivered to an I:CO facility and a team of sorters. Ideally, clothes will be in good enough shape that they can be worn again — garments that meet these standards are resold to be bought, worn, and loved by someone else. The rest are organized by about 400 criteria and sent to different stations based on quality. Absorbent fabrics are put through a shredder to become windshield wipers. Others are pulled through massive rollers, and hard materials like buttons are sorted out before fabrics are pressed to fill stuffed animals or insulate a house."