During her time as Senior Manager of the Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability, Jessica Schreiber learned all about commercial and residential textile waste. While residential waste is picked up by the department itself, commercial waste is collected by private partners— and there are very few requirements in place for handling it appropriately.
Eager to create programs that properly salvage materials around the city, Schreiber helped launch residential clothing reuse program re-fashioNYC as well as the city’s first curbside clothing collection pilot, which ultimately amassed six million pounds of clothing. But she wanted to expand her recycling aspirations past what the city could take on—so she quit in 2016 to take on NYC’s commercial fabric waste problem via FabScrap.
The nonprofit collects, recycles and reuses fabric around NYC. They make it easy for brands to mindfully get rid of excess material by picking it up, processing it and determining if it can be reused or resold. They then either recycle it or take to their warehouse, where fashion students, crafters, teachers and artists can shop around for it.
Originally launched from the backroom of the Queens warehouse, FabScrap has since relocated to 58th Street in Brooklyn. Those who are interested in shopping around for the salvaged goods can make an appointment to visit the space, volunteer there for free fabric or browse what is available online. They also recently expanded to include a shop in Manhattan. Located on 26th street, just a few short steps away from FIT, it has a more organized, curated collection of fabric sold by the yard.
Schreiber hopes to attract even more mindful creatives with future fundraising events and seasonal sales. She also features a new designer and artist every few months who use FabScrap fabric.
More about FabScrap can be found on their website.