About this good practice
The textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. The company Awahi was created to face this challenge and offer a brand of eco-designed, multi-purpose sportswear made in France. The products are made from recycled polyester. Awahi´s philosophy is to reduce waste by recycling or reusing it, but also to limit the environmental and social impacts of the textile industry.
Awahi collects and recycle sports waste in partnership with sea sport clubs and a structure of social integration, which allows people with disabilities to exercise a professional activity. The company recovers neoprene wetsuits, kitesurf wings, boat sails, and gives them a second life by reusing them in accessories (bracelets, pouches, bags, etc.).
The company was created thanks to citizen participation through crowdfunding and is active on citizen involvement in circular economy by participating in exhibitions, producing leaflets to inform about plastic waste recycling, educating young children in schools, organizing do-it- yourself workshops to transform plastic into e.g. bracelets.
Awahi also works with ambassadors of the brand to raise citizens’ awareness through social media, and to co-develop new products.
Partnerships with sport associations have been created to collect old sport equipment and thus influence citizens consumption habits.
The project was financed by the Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and ADEME (state agency for ecological transition), crowd-funding and self-financing. The team is composed of the founder of the company, assisted by interns on an ad hoc basis, and works with citizens who are brand ambassadors.
Evidence of success
The crowdfunding launched in 2019 has been successful with more than 110% achieved (6 500€), proving the citizen interest in a new textile philosophy.
Recycled polyester clothing reduces: 94% water consumption, 32% greenhouse gas emissions, and 60% energy consumption compared to virgin polyester yarn. The clothes are made in France with suppliers committed to an environmental and social quality approach and has created new jobs.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice is a good example for municipalities to deal with textile waste, to develop local partnerships and to address environmental concern while involving citizens in circular economy.
For instance, a partnership has been established with the sailing league to collect used boat sails.
Thus, the co-development and recycling of the products and material with citizens is a key success factor.