The Impact of Renewal

April 30, 2021

Every day is Earth Day at The Renewal Workshop; the health of the planet is the reason we are in business.  So this month we are reflecting on and sharing how we make a difference, in collaboration with our brand partners, and why we choose to renew.

We are dedicated to supporting apparel and textile brands in their journey toward a more circular model. It is a linear model that by design generates waste and is reliant on an endless supply of new materials for its growth. This linear model has been a substantial contributor to our economic and climate crises. Circular means using resources wisely and generating revenue from what was already made. 

The Renewal Workshop understands how important it is to capture data that demonstrates the environmental impact of Renewal. From the beginning, we invested in tracking certain metrics as part of the Renewal Process. We’ve always been transparent about how the environmental impact metrics for The Renewal Workshop are calculated.

Lifetime Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method of evaluating impacts to the environment and humanity. It identifies all significant inputs and outputs associated with the processes related to the portion of a product’s life cycle, that is within the scope of study, and then applies appropriate factors to calculate impacts on the environment and human health.

We provide in-depth reports and scorecards to each of our 24 brand partners on the total shared, and brand-specific, impact contributions. The impact score is based on LCA data of the items renewed. We use the weight of the product and the LCA data based on the material type of the item; combined, this gives a LCA impact score for the product.  We make the assumption that Renewing an item prevents a new item from being created and therefore this is what the savings to the planet is by Renewing instead of making new.

Specifically, an impact report shows how the brand’s renewed products reduced energy consumption, global warming potential, water consumption, and toxicity. We provide data on the percentage of their products that were eligible for renewal and for recycle—our research shows that 82% of products classified as waste can be renewed! The report also demonstrates the types of repairs across all brands such as stains, snags, broken zippers so brands can consider these factors to make future designs even more sustainable.

Each brand receives a Scorecard which gives them an overall circular score.  The points are generated from metrics such as:

  • Availability of product data needed for renewal like style numbers, features information, MSRP, and fabric content. The right kind of data is vital when giving a product a second life.
  • Participation in Renewed program marketing. Items are only truly renewed when they’re happily received so customers, like you, need to hear about our brands.
  • Percentage of products that can be renewed. Renewing an item back to its original condition retains the highest value of resources used.
  • The recyclability of brand products. Current recycling technology only supports the recycling of fabrics made of a single material.
  • Creation of a circle back program for brand customers. Taking responsibility for the whole lifecycle of a product is necessary in becoming circular.

Lastly, the report provides next steps to keep moving forward on the journey toward circular.

Collecting, evaluating, and sharing all of this data provides our partners, our team, our customers with the knowledge that together we are honoring the planet.  This is why we Renew. It empowers all of us to keep moving forward in the steadfast belief that there is a different way to do business, to create value while making a healthier planet. 

We invite you to learn more about our brand partners and why they Renew on our home page.


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