Homeboy Threads, the California Product Stewardship Council, the City of Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment Department (LASAN), and TOMRA – hosted an event in the City of Commerce where they were joined by environmental advocates, fashion brands and policy makers who are working to build circular economy partnerships in Los Angeles, create quality jobs, and reduce the harmful impact of textile waste. In 2022, a Textile Recovery Pilot Report found that every year, more than 70,000 tons of commercially generated textile waste ends up in Los Angeles area landfills.  

The event included demonstrations of a state-of-the art TOMRA Recycling unit that relies on leading global sensor technology to sort textiles by fiber and color, at high volumes. In collaboration with trusted textile recycling partners like Homeboy Threads, the TOMRA Recycling unit presents a solution to an otherwise labor-intensive process required to sort textiles by fiber type. By providing, for example, pure cotton material to emerging fiber-to-fiber recyclers and clothing manufacturers, the unit will begin to change the apparel industries’ current take, make, waste chain, and create a closed-loop textile waste recycling model that protects the environment.

“At Homeboy Threads, we are proud to be one of the only sites in Los Angeles that is already working with globally recognized brands to extend the life of garments and keep textiles out of our landfills,” said Chris Zwicke, Chief Executive Officer ofHomeboy Threads. “These partnerships allow us to reduce waste, protect our environment and create quality job opportunities for people who are working to heal and transform their lives.”

“Homeboy Threads is Homeboy Industries’ most recently launched social enterprise business and it has grown exponentially in just a two-year period,” said Thomas J. Vozzo, Chief Executive Officer of Homeboy Industries. “Today’s event and our partnerships are a testament to Homeboy Thread’s and its potential to do much more, continuing to create skilled, green economy employment and workforce training opportunities for the most marginalized among us.”

“We believe that textile sorting technology is very important to advancing circularity in the apparel industry at scale and we’re excited to demonstrate our solution here in Los Angeles,” said Louisa Hoyes, Director of Strategic Partnerships at TOMRA Textiles. “This project with Homeboy Threads and our other partners demonstrates what we can achieve when we explore new business models together but to meet the greater challenge, we need new legislation and incentives, investments in textile recycling infrastructure, a strong digital core, and above all, collaboration across the value chain.”

“This collaboration between Homeboy Threads and TOMRA is a perfect example of how to scale textile circularity for global impact. The city of Los Angeles, along with many other local governments and waste authorities are looking for just these types of partnerships as a solution in the textile waste diversion arena,” said Joanne Brasch, Director of Advocacy and Outreach at the California Product Stewardship Council.

For more information, visit www.homeboythreads.com, www.tomra.com, or www.calpsc.org/textilestewardship.