Sustainably Repurposing “Waste Fabric”

Sustainably Repurposing “Waste Fabric”
May 24, 2015 Christina Mullin

The inspiring work ethic of YA LIVING and its creator Lisa Bittan is in step with living more sustainably through wasting less.  Lisa started YA Living 7 years ago, working with artisans in India making hand-made printed and embroidered fabrics, which she uses to create her clothing and home accessories line.

While working with the artisans, Lisa noticed how much fabric was wasted in the manufacturing process. When fabric is professionally cut to make clothing or other products, it is laid out on a long, wide tables. Sewing patterns (or markers) are laid out on top of the material in a manner that will maximize usage of the material. However, invariably there is always some fabric left over since clothing and other items are not evenly and regularly shaped and cut. The leftover fabric either falls or is swept off to the floor. It is what the Indians call “waste fabric”.

Lisa started saving the beautiful tossed away fabric

Last summer, while working on her spring collection in India, she realized that at last, the concept of  “re-purposing” had gained a lot of traction and since she had been re-purposing “waste fabric” from the beginning, she decided to develop an entire collection of products created from re-purposed “waste fabric,” creating gorgeous, useful, and better-priced products. In addition to reducing waste, it generates work for the gifted artisans who create them– and whose livelihoods depend on it and it stimulates interest in hand block printing and hand embroidery and other ancient crafts and techniques that are quickly dying out.

You can find her notebooks, photo frames, notepads, pencil holders, desk sets, storage boxes, and hats and lots of other products at:

Did you know…Approximately 93% of all textile waste diverted to recycling is successfully reclaimed, yet 85% goes directly to landfills.

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Did you know…In China, millions of tons of unused fabric at Chinese mills go to waste each year when dyed the wrong color.

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