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Subscription sock company stepping up against textile waste

Manrags is expanding its efforts to keep textile waste out of landfills.

The subscription sock company estimates that it has already saved more than 30,000kg of textiles from ending up in landfills through its sock recycling initiative, which allows consumers to send in their old socks to be reused, repurposed or recycled in exchange for $15 store credit.

Now it is expanding the program beyond socks to include up to 10kg of clothing, linen and shoes in exchange for $25 store credit, and it is offering to collect satchels of unwanted fashion items from consumers’ doorsteps.

Manrags founder Michael Elias called it is “the world’s first digital direct-to-consumer textile recycling initiative ” and said it’s “just the beginning”.

The company has other exciting initiatives in the works and anticipates that it will have kept more than 100,000kg of textiles from ending up in landfills by the end of this financial year.

Elias started Manrags in 2016 after spotting a gap in the market for premium socks offered on a subscription basis. The subscription model allowed the brand to avoid overproduction – a big contributor to textile waste – but it didn’t address the waste generated by consumers when they dispose of clothes after wearing them.

Statistics vary, but a 2017 YouGov poll found that 75 per cent of Australians had thrown away clothes in the past year, and 24 per cent had thrown away clothing after wearing it just once.

When textile waste ends up in landfills, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention the resources that are wasted when wearable clothing is thrown away, rather than donated or recycled.

Choosing to be part of the solution rather than the problem, Elias partnered with Textile Recyclers Australia to make it easy for Manrags’ customers to dispose of their old socks responsibly. He estimates the brand has kept over 550,000 socks out of landfills through its sock recycling program.

The move to expand the program to include clothing, linen and shoes is evidence of Manrags’ broader mission to eradicate all textiles from landfills, which has been hugely popular with consumers.

“The response has been overwhelming. Our digital community has grown by tens of thousands and we’ve found that people become genuinely active and engaged advocates for our newfound purpose,” Elias said.

“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.”

Manrags is now working towards a new goal of reusing as many products as it distributes by 2022.

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