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When it pays to do the right thing

  • Published at 01:12 pm November 7th, 2020
Design Ecologist
Design Ecologist

UPCYBOM’s ingenious model promises to make bold strides towards sustainability

The pandemic that swept across the globe, shutting down factories and halting commerce may have struck an enormous financial blow, but has provided some much-needed downtime for introspection and course correction.

Even before Covid-19, with the specter of climate change hanging overhead, the global RMG industry was already feeling the heat of public scrutiny because of the giant ecological footprint of the fast fashion model.Post Rana Plaza, the human rights aspect was also something that could no longer be swept under the rug, especially for countries like Bangladesh.


Fashion Theory, an international buying house that earlier this year launched the Ze Project, calling for inclusion compliances in the business, have come up with an ingenious model that should help RMG companies cut their losses, small fashion businesses to access good quality materials, and more importantly, keep tons of textile waste out of landfills.

The answer lies in their new project, UPCYBOM, which functions as an e-commerce portal for garments waste.

How it works

A garments company signing up with the program can simply put up its unused material for sale on the site, be it fabric, or yard, or even finished garments. 

"The Bangladesh textile industry’s garment units produce some 500,000 tons of waste material annually, comprised of yarns, cutting scraps, cut pieces, roll ends, overproduction, rejected pieces, and garments, which can sometimes be as much as 47% of the total raw material input of garment production. [Dhaka Tribune, April 8, 2019]"

A consumer, be it a boutique, a retail store, or even a fashion school, in need of quality raw materials and/or finished garments can then save a lot of time shopping for the same and instead, buy directly through UPCYBOM’s website.  As of now, companies from Andorra, Belgium and Bangladesh have begun to sign up for the program, and it is expected to expand its reach as more countries join the movement.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

“Visiting factories every week makes us understand that the problematic on waste/dead inventories is a big challenge in our industry. It is estimated that more than 100 billion USD worth of fabrics/raw materials sit in factories around the world every year, waiting to go to landfill at some time. The challenge of this wastage is how to connect those dead Bill of Materials/stocks easily to potential buyers” the site explains.

What is seen as ‘waste’ by one factory, can actually be used in many ways without having to end up in landfills. A visit to the annual Denim Expo showcases possibilities in using tech to close the loop, and reuse and upcycle materials, suchturning cotton scraps into high quality paper to give just one example out of many. On a smaller scale, companies and small enterprises like MiB, Broque, and Nakshi Denim have been upcycling old fabrics and materials into trendy new clothes and accessories. Gaining access to a larger stock of inventory can only fuel further growth.

To know more about the project, or to sign up with the platform, visit www.upcybom.com

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