The Knot Project: Creating a circular business model to alleviate refugee crisis About 13.1 million tons of textiles are trashed yearly, and only 15% is recovered for reuse or recycling. Many people trash perfectly reusable textiles. How can this abundance of apparel waste be repurposed to serve a need where resources are scarce? Client: Sustainability, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts Date: May 2016 Fields of Work Design Strategy, Innovation, Human-centered design, B Corps, Refugees, Triple-bottom-line, Circular Business Model Challenge & Outcome Clothing and shelter are two of the most basic necessities for survival; yet there seems to be an imbalance of these goods around the world. The rise of fast fashion in the last decade has made it more affordable for consumers to buy clothes more often but has also influenced the frequency in which clothes are disposed whether donated, recycled, or trashed. Through the Knot Project, we aim to take advantage of this environmental problem of textile waste to provide a social solution for refugee needs by extending the life cycle of clothing through re-purposing them into relief blankets and sleeping mats. Produced as hand knitted kits, not only will these re-purposed goods provide refugees the means to sleep and keep warm, but will also provide a social sense and an activity to feel productive. Client: Sustainability, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts Date: May 2016 Fields of Work Design Strategy, Innovation, Human-centered design, B Corps, Refugees, Triple-bottom-line, Circular Business Model We collect and shred used clothing and textile remnants to create knitting kits for blankets, rugs, and mats. These kits are sent to communities such as refugee camps and the finished goods may also be sold to earn income. When ready, the used goods are being collected and recycled into fiber for upholstery or insulation, extending the life cycle furthermore. Currently, secondhand shops and donation facilities are partly successful since they do not close the product lifecycle loop nor do they have a deep level of social and environmental impact. Much of the clothing that is donated is not suitable for repurchase and ends up in landfill. Our approach extends the life of more products, helps to avoid new manufacturing of textiles for relief aid, utilizes a cradle to cradle mindset, and has large social impact on many people, including vulnerable communities, clothing consumers, and fashion retailers. By transforming what would be textile-waste into new knitting material, we will offset the production of raw materials that may have otherwise been used for production, thereby reducing the harsh environmental effects of manufacturing on the environment, such as water usage. We also help offset carbon emissions and toxic gasses that are a result of tons of clothing going to landfill every year by mitigating the diversion rate of textile waste. The Knot Project could be replicated across different markets or countries and respond to more specific community needs, such as homelessness, emergency preparedness, and disaster relief.