Genue Inc.
November 13, 2018

Fabscrap: An Unorthodox Maker Resource



If you’re like me, you have a lot of fabric. I have a fabric stockpile dating back decades.  And keep in mind, I am only 29. I am slightly unusual in the sense that I worked in the textile industry for many years, and have provided a good home for all of those free samples, but I do not think I am at all unusual in my scrap hoarding habits.


Quick fact: the textile industry (primarily fashion) is a massive source of industrial pollution (second only to the oil industry).  So what happens when you need just the right material for that new project/costume/pillow? What if you want to get that material without spending a fortune or contributing to that textile waste?  Well, enter this super cool startup called Fabscrap!


I heard Fabscrap’s owner and founder, Jessica Schreiber speak back in 2016 at a New York Textile Month event about her initial idea and beginnings of Fabscrap. Before starting Fabscrap, Jessica worked for the New York City Department of Sanitation and started the city’s first textile recycling program. During the time I lived there, these recycling programs were available at most – if not all – of the city’s weekly Greenmarkets. Primarily focused on household clothing waste, during Jessica’s tenure, this program recycled over 6 million pounds of textiles! That’s incredible!


The NY Department of Sanitation still runs these textile recycling programs aimed at personal, residential textile recycling. Jessica started Fabscrap because she wanted to focus her time, energy and resources on the commercial textile waste of New York City. Keep in mind that New York has one of the world’s largest fashion and interior design districts in the country. All of these design studios consume a massive amount of sampling, trial garments or yardage, and flawed yardage or garments. Yes, some of these items can be sold as seconds, but most aren’t, and they are typically thrown away.




Fabscrap Pick Up



Fabscrap’s mission is simple: to collect and recycle commercial textiles that would otherwise end up in the landfill. A simple premise perhaps, but an impressive undertaking in scale and function. Yes, some of the textile waste collection has to be bailed and broken down with industrial recycling processes, but for Fabscrap that is the last resort. Ideally, their favorite way of recycling is to keep these textiles – oftentimes perfectly usable – from going into the waste stream at all.




Fabscrap offers shopping hours at their Sunset Park, Brooklyn warehouse, and even more exciting for me now that I no longer live in the city, they have a webstore! I am in graduate school for fiber studio art right now and I have purchased a few of their yardage bundles, also some super fun sequin packs! It seems like a win/win to me – I get to save a bit of money on supplies, I get some really nice high-end textiles – natural fibers, hello! – and Fabscrap gets to keep these beautiful fabrics out of the waste stream. So, the next time you’re looking for that exact right fabric, and you don’t already have it in your personal stash, consider utilizing Fabscrap’s stash before heading to your local Joann’s!


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