HomepageEnvironment and SustainabilityPutting Circular Economies into Action

Putting Circular Economies into Action

Over the course of the Spring 2023 semester, Dr. Brie Berry’s Circular Economies class has been thinking, reading, and talking about circular economies. These economic systems are meant to eliminate the concept of waste by reducing materials throughput, fostering reuse, and promoting recycling and recovery over disposal.

Our class had the chance to put those concepts into practice recently, when we visited Philadelphia to learn about and volunteer with FabScrap, a textile reuse and recycling non-profit dedicated to ending textile waste.

Over the course of three hours, we learned about FabScrap’s operations, and got to work sorting textile donations based on their materials. Textiles are reused or recycled depending on their materials and quality. Some are sold in the FabScrap warehouse shop, while other items are being explored for fiber-to-fiber recycling, or to produce “shoddy” – a bulky shredded material that can be used to fill upholstered furniture or as insulation.

Not only did we put course concepts into practice – actually creating circular economies! – we also got to shop for rescued textiles in the FabScrap warehouse shop at the end of the trip. We left feeling impressed by this example of circularity in action – and with lots of plans for mending, repairing, and repurposing our textile finds.

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