Garson & Shaw was proud to welcome over 200 suppliers and customers to the annual conference in Atlanta, May 2013. Over the last four years, we have explored many parts of the World of Secondhand Clothing – from collections and grading – to retail – to the recycling of our products. We have been around the world with speakers from many different countries sharing their stories.
This year, we turn our attention to the issue of Climate Change, which we consider to be the biggest challenge of our time. We’ve already seen it’s alarming impact: extreme weather events, a decrease in biodiversity, and the melting of polar ice. The future of our business, and many others, is sure to be shaped by our changing eco-system.
The secondhand clothing business is an industry that continues to make a difference. Our work recycles 3.8 billion pounds of textiles per year. We continue to reduce waste and keep clothing out of landfills, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a very real way. This work is truly important. We must continue our efforts to increase collections and find new ways to recycle textiles. We must strive to achieve zero waste. We already see the benefit of second hand clothing to people all over the world. Our efforts will make a difference to our planet.
Let us continue on this path of waste reduction, reuse and recycling.
Mark Hertsgaard, one of our guest speakers and author of “Hot”, described the reality of the warming planet that we are living in. His latest book argues that there is still time to fight back against climate change, which will require us to think and act differently over the next decades.
Agricultural development is already being affected in many regions; flooding and drought are creating food shortages around the world, which are severe and often life-threatening.
Another guest speaker, Rod Muir, supporting our business goal- recycling and reuse, presented the connection between production, waste, and climate change.
Kathryn Dirks, a researcher for Garson & Shaw, compiled research about the life of secondhand clothes and created a documentary.