Innovations for Sustainability: Looptworks
The circumstances surrounding the looming recycling crisis are ushering businesses and makers in the direction of sustainability, and some of the results are quite remarkable. One such company that deserves a closer look is Looptworks. Based out of Portland, Oregon, Looptworks is a business that repurposes and upcycles abandoned materials, pre-consumer and post-consumer, turning them into limited edition products.
At Looptworks, “the only thing [they] scrap is the typical way of doing business.” This design brand operates with a clear mission to use only materials that already exist when producing new garments, bags, accessories, and more. Their primary goal is simple: convert landfill-fated materials into quality, fashion forward items with purpose. Looptworks intercepts and utilizes industry excess materials, and finding new life for them through the process of upcycling.
What exactly IS upcycling?
According to Wikipedia, “upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value.” So in short, Looptworks fashions sustainable, eco-friendly products in limited editions, while saving materials from landfills and incinerators in the process.
Upcycling vs. Recycling: What’s the distinction?
The main difference between upcycling and recycling is that recycling decreases the value of the materials at hand, while upcycling increases it. Processes we typically think of as recycling are more accurately downcycling, meaning the materials at hand are transformed into something with less value that is still usable in certain applications. That said, any form of reuse– recycling, downcycling, or upcycling– is good for our environment, reducing our overall footprint. For a more in depth look at the differences between recycling, downcycling, and upcycling, check out this Looptworks blog.
Saving Water and Air
Not only does the production of new materials lead to excess and continued growth of solid waste, but also it contributes to the overuse of the Earth’s natural resources, water in particular. The textile industry alone discards roughly 60,000 pounds of pre-consumer textiles every week. This is where upcycling comes in. By repurposing the excess materials that would otherwise be garbage, companies like Looptworks reduce the volume of items that wind up in landfills while also conserving the water, energy, and other resources necessary to manufacture new materials from scratch. Therefore, upcycling is doubly beneficial.
The Looptworks Business Model
Rescue, design, transform, and elevate. This is the path materials take within the Looptworks business model. First they identify and collect, or “rescue,” high-quality materials left over from manufacturers of premium goods. Then they transform those materials into something that’s not just fashionable or attractive, but also useful. Lastly, they deliver well-made, limited edition products that are hand numbered to consumers who seek to shop responsibly.
At iSustain, we subscribe to the belief that we all need to shop more responsibly, consume more responsibly, and discard more responsibly. Companies like Looptworks are paving the way, setting the bar high, and inspiring other manufacturers to follow suit in the practice of upcycling. Their environmentally-responsible approach to design, water conservation, waste reduction, and carbon avoidance is an inspiration. Check out some of their incredible products here.