By: Caroline Thomas
Photos by: Bella Gerard
No use for that drawer full of T-shirts now that the weathers getting colder? Looking for a use for all your mismatched socks that somehow survived Georgetown laundry facilities? Thirty Seventh met up with Tyler Byrd (COL ’17) to talk about her involvement with H&M’s global garment collection initiative. There’s an H&M right here on M Street, and the store recently announced a mission to make its buyers more aware of the ways in which they view their clothing – their biggest project so far has been starting clothing drives from which fabrics and materials are converted into home insulation. What could be better than making a donation that not only frees up your closet space, but also contributes to a more sustainable textile industry?
Thirty Seventh: Hey, Tyler! Tell us how you became involved with H&M’s clothing drive?
Tyler Byrd: The clothing drive is hosted by Do Something, a non-profit organization that aims to get young people involved in projects and campaigns that encourage social change. I applied to a summer internship with the organization, and although I didn’t get the internship, they reached out to me at the end of the summer asking me if I wanted to be involved in their clothing drive, and I said yes! I love clothes, and I’m all about trying to make the world a better place, so it was an easy decision!
TS: Do you think the Georgetown community views fashion in a sustainable manner?
TB: I’m not sure that people in the Georgetown community generally think that much about where their clothes end up when they choose to get rid of them, or even comprehend how bad clothing waste is for the environment. To be completely honest, I wasn’t aware of the severity of the negative impact of clothing waste either until I became a part of this clothing drive! It’s definitely not an issue that gets a lot of attention, and that’s why it’s so great that H&M is trying to bring awareness to the subject and is trying to improve the situation by getting its shoppers involved.
TS: What exactly are the impacts of textile waste?
TB: Millions of tons of clothes end up in landfills every year, even though over 90% of it is recyclable. By not recycling or reusing old clothing, we are unnecessarily filling up landfills, which can contribute to many other environmental issues like pollution and contamination, since decomposed clothing can release harmful chemicals into the environment from the dyes and other chemicals used in the fabric. H&M is trying to call attention to this issue by offering to take any unwanted clothing and recycle it so it can be turned into more clothing and other materials.
TS: How can Georgetown students participate?
TB: Students can bring any clothes they want to donate to me by the end of the week, and I can drop them off at H&M along with the other clothing items I’ve already collected. Anyone who brings their clothes directly to me will get 20% off coupons for H&M – just in time for fall shopping! If students still want to donate their clothes past this deadline, they can always call the H&M store on M street and ask to speak with a manager about donating their clothing. They can donate any items, no matter what condition they’re in, since it is all going to be recycled. All those socks you’ve lost would be great contributions!
Tyler is one of the many awesome Hoyas working to keep students on the hilltop aware of important issues. Be sure to donate to H&M’s drive, and let Thirty Seventh know of any other exciting opportunities for Georgetown students to make a difference!