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This sock subscription company has diverted more than 60,000kg of textiles from landfill

Published July 7, 2020

MANRAGS is a Melbourne-based men’s sock and underwear subscription service (hello – can we have one for women?!) pioneering textile product stewardship in Australia.

Since MANRAGS launched its unwanted clothing pick-up service in 2018, the company has diverted more than 60,000 kg of textiles from landfill.

Why is this such a big deal?

Because clothes in landfill take aaages to break down depending on their materials, and they emit a lot of greenhouse gases as they do. Think about how many times you’ve tossed a towel, stained jumper or old sheet set in the bin. Now multiply that by all the people in Australia, all the people in the world, and then consider all the off-cuts of the fashion industry itself… and you understand why the responsible management of clothing waste is a big environmental deal.

MANRAGS estimates that through its product stewardship, it has saved about 250,000 kilograms of methane from entering the atmosphere – or the equivalent of taking about 1300 cars off the road for a year. Not bad for one company!

(Product stewardship is where a company takes end-to-end resposnsibility for what it makes; instead of just manufacturing a product, releasing it into the world and never thinking about it again, the company considers how its products will be disposed of, recycled, and / or repurposed. Not enough companies are thinking like this in Australia!)

How the MANrags recycling program works
You can opt to recycle your socks only and purchase a compostable bag for $15 to pop them in, or you can book a collection of up to 10kg of clothes for $25. You score both fees back in store credit.
The MANRAGS textile collection is just about the easiest way to recycle your shoes in Australia, especially in NSW where we have very few options.

What happens next is a great example of sustainable partnerships at work, and the circularity of my three Cs of sustainable living:

Around 80% of the items MANRAGS collects is in good enough condition to be passed onto its Australian charity partners (Ready Set Australia, Good360 Australia, St Kilda Mums and Sacred Heart Mission).

The rest of the items are assessed for their suitability to be repurposed or recycled into new materials. MANRAGS is working with a sustainable Australian brand to develop a reconstituted denim line from the damaged denim items it receives. Other items are sent to Textile Recyclers Australia to be shredded down and spun into new yarns, which can end up in products ranging from blankets, to floor rugs to insulation. More valuable fibres like wool or cotton can be blended with virgin fibres to produce high quality yarns with recycled fabric, for new items.

The company will also use a percentage of recycled materials in its products in coming months, going even more circular!

“We’ve found that people become genuinely active and engaged advocates for our newfound purpose,” says MANrags founder Michael Elias. “When it comes to matters of sustainability, we’ve learnt that people ARE prepared to invest their time, energy and money to create a better future for our planet and its inhabitants.”

More about: Circular | MANRAGS | Recycling

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