Improve SF Challenge Winner: Turning Recycled Clothing Into Handmade Home Goods

In San Francisco, 17,000 tons of clothes and other textiles end up in landfills every year. The city also faces employment challenges; if you're not in the tech industry, it can be a tough place to find a job. GOOD teamed up with the Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation, Goodwill, and Adaptive Path to put out a challenge to San Francisco citizens: What new, locally-made product or service could be created from textile waste?


Out of all of the great ideas submitted on San Francisco's Improve SF website—an innovative platform that invites citizens to find creative solutions to civic issues—Paula Luu's stood out. Her business idea, "Coming Home Goods," would turn recycled clothing into handmade rugs, quilts and pillow covers for a major national retailer. The design would utilize a unique pattern to maximize the amount of fabric that can be recycled and aim to employ former prisoners in the process. Over 70 percent of the formerly incarcerated are unemployed, but by partnering with local employment services like Goodwill's Re-Entry Program Navigator, Luu hopes to help change that statistic.

As the winner of this Improve SF challenge, Luu will be given coworking space from Techshop, mentorship from Goodwill as well as prototyping materials to help make her idea a reality. To follow the progress of Luu’s work, visit the Coming Home Goods website and sign up to receive updates.

Image courtesy of Tim Murray of SF Goodwill.