We sat down Maria Eisenberg, Founder of Marimole and our recycling partner for the KENT Recycle Club. She helps to demystify what textile recycling is, why it's so beneficial for our planet and also what circular fashion means.
What moment inspired you to start Marimole?
It has been a journey. I always set out to make change and live life hard set on doing so. While I was in law school, I became extremely interested in environmental policy. After law school, I worked with an electronics recycler building take-back programs to make certain that electronics were properly disposed of rather than allow hazardous waste to be dumped in our landfills — which affect swaths of communities. Textile waste is a massive problem and I saw a need to tackle it for years. It is the next frontier.
What are some of the partnerships you are most proud of?
I am most proud of our developing partnerships with local artists. We think globally, but local collaborations mean the world to us. Here are some companies we collaborate with and how they support local economies:
Reunion Yarns, founded by Emily Felix (www.reunionyarn.com)
Emily is the founder and proud spinner of Reunion Yarns. Her ultimate goal is to transform the way the world handles unwanted knitwear. She believes knitwear is the material of a sustainable future because, if made to spec, can be continually unraveled and re-knit in a zero waste, circular economy that brings in no new material and leaves no material to waste.
FLS Banners, founded by Cain Goettelman (www.flsbanners.com)
Founded in 1972, FLS has a long-established history of bringing new products to the market and assisting other companies in bringing their products to life. The company’s founders, William and Cynthia Goettelman, were masters of conceptualizing and finding ways to bring ideas to life. Bill and Cindy also had a passion for conserving and protecting the environment. Under its second generation of guidance, FLS continues to build on its heritage of responsibility and innovation. FLS looks forward to its partnership with Marimole and bringing another responsibly sourced and manufactured product to the market.
Midwest Textiles, founded by Steve Wagnitz (www.midwesttextile.com)
Over the past 30+ years, Midwest Textiles has specialized in contract sewing. They manufacture a wide variety of custom sewn products, built to suit their customers’ wants and needs. Whether the initial design is an idea scribbled on a napkin, or a drawing professionally designed in an AutoCAD program, Midwest Textiles teams up with customers to develop their concepts and help make their ideas a reality. From start to finish, they walk customers through each step of the process with seamless communication. Located in Suamico, WI, Midwest Textiles is proud that their products are made in the USA and boast the best in handcrafted quality.
What is one of the biggest industry shifts you've seen since launching?
With over 16.9 million tons of textile waste being generated annually in the United States, consumer interest in textile recycling has surged. Companies are also looking for more control over their supply chains. And federal and local governments are looking for ways to support recycling and circularity.
How much of the textiles are usable after the recycling process and what can they be used for?
A large percentage of what we accept is recycled but not every material in the market can be recycled appropriately. The recycled materials can either be upcycled or downcycled into various materials for a multitude of industries. From automotive parts to house insulation and even recycled fabrics!
What tip or advice would you share with someone starting their sustainable living journey?
Keep an open mind, educate yourself with various sources, and be patient. Sustainable living is an ongoing process. Start by asking yourself if you really need to purchase an item or if you already have a similar item that can fulfill that need.
Anything upcoming at Marimole we should look out for this year?
Coming soon on Marimole.com we will be releasing our own merchandise collection made of materials we have sourced through the garments we recycled. And for our business customers, we’ll be launching more robust applications to help share their waste data.