Nice Laundry is a new Kickstarter project from two founders obsessed with socks: not just how to make the perfect pair, but how to make sure old socks get recycled into something new. Every new pack of these socks turns into a recycling system—you take out your new socks, then pick old, worn socks out of your drawer to put in the package. It comes with a prepaid shipping label, so you can send the box back to Nice Laundry, at no cost, for recycling. If the socks are in good shape, they'll find new life as donated footwear for someone else; if not, they'll be shredded into fabric used in dog beds and other recycled-fabric products.
In the United States, 21 billion pounds of textiles ends up in the trash each year. Despite the scale of the challenge, it's still rare for clothing companies to actively encourage recycling. The founders of Nice Laundry told me that one of the most exciting parts of the project for them has been realizing that they're among the first startup clothing companies—as opposed to more established brands, like Patagonia—to build in a recycling program from the very beginning. It's a harbinger of more sophisticated, closed-loop thinking that's growing in all kinds of product design.
Why not recycle your socks locally? It might not be possible; secondhand stores often won't accept socks, and won't want socks that are missing a mate or full of holes. This company makes it easy to clean out your sock drawer without guilt.
Image courtesy of Nice Laundry.