Without the donated fabric, Hillier says that they would not be able to run the sewing program. “We serve about 40 people per year and buying fabric for that class would be completely unsustainable for us as an organization.” Recycling fabric not only financially helps the program, but it contributes to a greener Ottawa. Last year, EcoEquitable diverted 7,000 pounds of fabric away from landfills, and this year, they are aiming to recycle more than 10,000 pounds.
“When you think about the way that we produce clothes now, they are all very disposable, so people think nothing of throwing an old T-shirt or a pair of socks into the landfill,” says Hillier. “Textiles are the world’s second worst polluter after oil and gas.”
According to Hillier, EcoEquitable is the only textile recycler in Ottawa and receives donations from across the province. Sewing for Jobs also leaves no fabric behind. When the program receives fabric scraps, they often get sent to Days for Girls - an organization that makes reusable sanitary products for young women in Africa.