Photo Credit: Supplied

Battling textile waste head-on, a re-commerce startup is making a difference in the fashion industry!


Africa (25 September 2023) — The global fashion industry and eco-consumerism have a complicated relationship. On the one hand, many brands are attempting to switch to sustainable models while small businesses are implementing these from the ground up whether by product materials, producing means or re-commerce concepts. On the other, fast fashion giants use eco-campaigns as trends, not standards—perpetuating the cycles of over-production and waste.

Especially in the Global South, the weight of the latter matters, with continents like our Africa considered something of a dumping ground of the global fast fashion industry, with textiles from the global North resold to textile merchants closer to home.

In fact, according to a Greenpeace report, around 70% of African consumers rely on the second-hand market for cheaper synthetic imports. While second-hand clothing is generally considered a more sustainable approach to fashion, the problem is that much of the clothing arrives in an unusable state—being stained, torn or even shredded by the time they reach places like Ghana or Kenya.

“The textile waste amounts to around 200 tonnes a day, much of which is dumped in landfills, rivers and drains”, as Good Things Guy is told.

This is the problem that people like William McCarren had enough of.

After co-founding ZUMI (a B2B platform for clothing with a mission to reduce textile waste) McCarren released that even more needed to be done despite the platform’s success.

“We spent three years trying to reduce waste in the second-hand clothing market, but people wouldn’t change their ways. To fix the problem, I knew we had to build a new supply chain,” he shared.

The idea was to bring unsold, new stock directly to the South African market and selling these at far more affordable prices, but with the same quality through a new re-commerce startup—Faro. This way, the clothes wouldn’t be wasted as drastically because of their low-tier quality.

While it is early days for Faro (who are set to open the first outlet in October in Mithcell’s Plain), the team are hopeful that this model will help prevent up to 30g of waste and 2,13 kg of carbon emissions per garment purchase.

“Every store will double up in function, trading to customers directly like a traditional retail establishment but also acting as a depot for micro merchants, who will be given discounts on items they buy for resale in the market,” shares Faro team member, Michelle Sibanda.

[This] means that every store directly enables the township economy and the entrepreneurs who trade within it.”

Source: Supplied
Don’t ever miss the Good Things. Download the Good Things Guy App now on Apple or Google
Have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens, or share your good news with us by clicking here or click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes there’s good news around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *