Can laundries help the beauty industry to use its waste as a resource?
This Swedish entrepreneur, who’s partnered up with specialists, definitely believes that it can.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
September 22, 2022
Five years ago, serial entrepreneur Pia Walter and her colleague founded Reused Remade, re-designing and upcycling discarded hotel textiles, such as bedlinen, terry, and tablecloth.
— We started with offering reusable carrier bags to replace single-use plastic bags in retail, she explains.
Since the start, the brand has given roughly 130 tons of discarded hotel sheets a second life, delivering approximately 1,000,000 bags to customers.
— In 2020, Walter continues, we added our first beauty clients and this year, we’ve launched our own beauty accessories collection consisting of eight products made out of terry and bed linen. We offer headbands and make-up pads as well as beauty bags, scrunchies, and a sleeping mask. All products are made of 100% reused material and by turning it into long-lasting products for everyday use, 64% of the environmental and climate impact is saved.
The strong, tightly woven fabrics in hotel textiles ensure high-quality products with a long lifespan. According to an LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) made by U & We for the company a couple of years ago, it also saves significant resources. If everyone in Sweden chose to carry the food from the grocery store to their home in a bag from Reused Remade three times a week rather than with a bag made of bioplastic for a year, it would save approximately 110 million square meters of land. That is almost as big as the whole of Stockholm, where the company is based. Reused Remade now wants to offer consumers to think sustainably even in their daily beauty routine.
Pia Walter, can you take us through the process of transforming discarded textiles into new products?
— We have partnered up with laundry and textile service companies in the Nordics and northern Europe. They own the material and thus, are equally responsible for discarding material that can no longer be used at the hotels due to stains or holes. The part of the discarded material we source is then packed in boxes and shipped to our stitching factories in Lithuania and Pakistan. The production includes cutting, printing or embroidery, and stitching. With a minimum of resources, we upcycle the textile to sustainable products for everyday use, Walter says, adding,
— If it’s the beauty industry or any other, reusing is the better option if we want to increase resource efficiency and decrease the environmental and climate impact. Wherever you can replace a current material, single-use or reusable, with a more planet-friendly option without compromising the functionality, say, a cotton pad for removing make-up, you should make that transition. Or, something that we’re currently working on; packaging solutions for clients segments like interior design, appliances, shoes, and fashion. Why shall we make drawstring bags of virgin material when we have a fantastic, high-quality textile providing the same solution?
And where do you recommend other companies to start their ’journey’ of reusing?
— This summer, a clever boy of 16 told me: ’We need to find new solutions and make some compromises on the way in order to achieve a positive change.’
— If you start investigating with an open mind, ask questions and dare to challenge yourself, your organization, your products, and your processes, you will find answers and new solutions that are better, both for your customers and the planet, Walter concludes.