Upcycling garment waste for the good of people and the planet

05.07.2021

Vietnam

Reading time: 5 minutes

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By Ceci Yip

During the production of garment products, around 15% to 20% waste is generated on average. In order to reduce the environmental impact and help the disadvantaged people, the Gloves and Headwear team in Vietnam initiated a project to upcycle the leftover fabrics and turn them into useful products. These products will be donated to the local communities who have financial and social difficulties in cooperation with the non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

From unusable to reusable

The textile waste is mainly produced after the fabric cutting of the manufacturing, and they will be discarded by the factories. The Gloves Team in Decathlon Vietnam proposed a solution to the suppliers to collect the leftover fabrics and transform them into higher valued products. The wide range of products includes garment decorations, seat cushions, quilted blankets, bolster pillows, barrier mats and cooking mats.

A sample testing was conducted last year. The first batch of pillows and mats were sent to the teammates for the use at the production office. It helped to introduce the project to the office team and collect their feedback to enhance the product quality. This year, the team is going to present the project to more suppliers and invite them to join the initiative. They will work together to design and upcycle the products. After that, the products will be donated to two target groups: the factory workers and the disadvantaged community.

Project redirected by the Vision

The early incubation of this project idea started 2 years ago when the team was studying and discussing the circular economy. The original objective was to upcycle the textile products and resell them in the Decathlon stores. However, due to the difficulty in legal arrangements, the project was pending and only redirected after the recent Vision workshop. Instead of a commercial purpose, the team chose to align the project with the Vision and provide help to the people in need. It contributes towards the Regenerative, Local Living and Inclusive targets.

The Regenerative target is the highlight of this project. The textile waste will be recycled instead of being thrown in the landfills. Moreover, it endows the garment materials with a new valuable usage. Furthermore, the Local Living and Inclusive targets go hand in hand. The team would like to help different groups of people in Vietnam who are in need, for example the factory workers to work more comfortably with the upcycled seat cushions and poor people in mountainous areas with quilted blankets to combat the cold weather. These products will be donated to them through the NGOs to keep them warm and reduce their financial burden.

The team aims to turn this initiative into a long term project to help different people every year. The project is at the stage of formalisation for the roadmap. It also goes in parallel with the Decathlon Foundation Project in Vietnam, and they hope to inspire other countries to take similar initiatives aligned with the Vision.

A sample testing was conducted last year. The first batch of pillows and mats were sent to the teammates for the use at the production office. It helped to introduce the project to the office team and collect their feedback to enhance the product quality. This year, the team is going to present the project to more suppliers and invite them to join the initiative. They will work together to design and upcycle the products. After that, the products will be donated to two target groups: the factory workers and the disadvantaged community.

“By turning unusable materials into useful things, we believe that the project will bring happiness to the people, and contribute to environmental protection. The more we reuse the waste from the production, the greener the environment will be.”

– Huyen DANG THANH

Project initiators
Huyen Dang

Huyen DANG THANH

Gloves & Headwear Process Leader at Decathlon Vietnam

Thuy VU XUAN

Thuy VU XUAN

Industrialisation & Quality Production Leader at Decathlon Vietnam

Trang LE THU

Trang LE THU

Industrialisation & Quality Production Leader at Decathlon Vietnam