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Portland entrepreneurs prove the power of textile scrap

US firm Looptworks is transforming textile production waste into reusable facemasks. The business based in Portland, Oregon re-purposes and upcycles abandoned, pre-consumer and post-consumer materials into ‘limited edition products’.

Using off cuts, the masks feature two layers of cotton and one of polyester, which makes them suitable for everyday use as a barrier.  

‘They are made with 100% pre-consumer excess materials, which helps conserve our planet’s valuable resources,’ according to Gary Peck and Scott Hamlin, who founded the company in 2009. They point out that clothing factories in the US throw away 27.5 tonnes of perfectly usable, pre-consumer textiles in an average week.

The coronavirus pandemic is proving a trigger for many leading organisations to explore circular solutions, Hamlin says. ‘We recently had the honour of partnering with United Airlines to create 7 500 reusable facemasks from 5.5 tonnes of excess retired uniforms. These masks have been delivered to the airline’s operations workers at San Francisco International Airport, the entrepreneur adds. ‘A great way of reducing waste while keeping people safe.’

Hamlin and Peck are hoping to inspire citizens to ‘be heroes from home’, as they put it. ‘We are connecting with crafty folks both in Portland and nationwide to help assemble our DIY facemask kits to get personal protection equipment to first responders, essential workers, and vulnerable communities ASAP,’ they say. Looptworks is also accepting cash donations to offset material and shipping costs of their ambitious project.

Looptworks creates many types of recycled products.

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