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Naslovnica arrow English arrow The Humana Nova: recycling clothes as a way of earning profits and preserving the enviroment
The Humana Nova: recycling clothes as a way of earning profits and preserving the enviroment
Author: Ivona Grubišić, Translated by: Makso Herman   
Ponedjeljak, 23 Siječanj 2012

Humana Nova Čakovec
One of the biggest polluters of the environment is the textile industry, and that includes not only its production, but also its consumption. It is estimated that Croatia annually produces 135,000 tons of textile waste, while the biggest generators of that waste are households. The average lifetime of clothing items is around three years, and after that they get thrown away. Some clothing items take hundreds of years to disintegrate, which is truly cause for alarm, because the pollution is getting worse by the day.

If the clothes are not recycled, the pollution gets more and more extreme, since production is rapidly increasing. The production of cotton is destroying land that could be used for farming and polluting water streams, because one fifth of all insecticide and pesticide usage goes into growing cotton. Incredible, yet true: in order to manufacture just one cotton shirt, it takes 150 grams of pesticide, which in turn penetrates groundwater, poisons birds, bees, numerous other animals and, ultimately, people. Equally harmful are the dyes used for coloring. Most of the dyes contain heavy metals, as do the synthetic polyesters and nylon, which are made from oil derivatives.

Clothes made from recycled and eco materials

In order to put an end to the problem of textile waste, many countries have put in motion initiatives aimed at reducing the negative impact on both the environment and the community. One such initiative is the Humana Nova Social Cooperative from Čakovec, which focuses on employing disabled and other underprivileged people through the production and sale of quality and innovative textile products made from recycled and eco materials. The Cooperative states that their products are meant for the domestic and foreign markets, and that they respond to actual needs of their customers. The satisfaction and happiness of the employees, the Cooperative, nature and the community are embedded in each sewn fiber. The Cooperative thus contributes to the sustainable development of the local community, reduces poverty and preserves the environment. 

One of their methods is the ‘reusage’ of textile, since as much as 90 percent of textile waste can be recycled and reused. Estimates and experience show that each person annually produces 8,5 kilos of textile waste. Fortunately, the waste can be recycled. Two thirds of the waste ends up as garbage, while the remaining third is gathered through public collections of clothes.

The Cooperative believes that collecting, sorting and recycling textile has countless positive effects:
  • A reduced number of garbage waste sites, which in turn reduces the effects of climate change (for example, wool does not disintegrate – it produces methane which causes global warming);
  • A reduced need for textile production – as textile is collected, sorted and distributed mostly locally, pollution is reduced due to limited transportation needs;
  • A milder strain for one’s budget due to the access to cheaper textile products and clothes.
  • One hundred kilos of collected textile include: 1-3 kilos of used high quality clothes (store item quality), 10-20 kilos of used average quality clothes, 10-30 kilos of used clothes eligible for donating to less developed countries, 25 kilos of fibers which can be used for production, and 25 kilos of raw materials which can be used for the production of energy. 
  • Donating used clothes

    Most people are more than willing to donate their used clothing items. The Cooperative collects clothes mainly in northwestern Croatia. The used clothes are sorted according to category in the production facilities of the Cooperative. Clean and usable clothes are then sold at affordable prices at the greenware store in Čakovec. Clean and partially usable clothing items are sent to the sewing department, and after reparation, to the greenware store, while clean and unusable items are used for the production of new items – patchwork quilts, handbags, clothes… Worn-out and stained clothes are recycled into industrial wiping cloths. Buttons, zippers, etc. are also reused.

    Finally, textile which cannot be used for any of these purposes is sent to recycling companies.  The first collection of clothes and textile was held on October 17th 2011 in Čakovec, on occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and was organized by the Humana Nova Social Cooperative, the ACT Autonomni Centar, CEDRA Čakovec, and the Čakovec Social Welfare Center, with the help of GKP Čakom and numerous volunteers. Many joined in the project to ecologically and socially responsibly dispose of surplus clothes and textile. Over 60 cubic meters of clothes and textile were collected and used to aid persons of less fortunate financial opportunities.

    Greenware store to open in December

    Thanks to the support of the Open Society International Network of Foundations and the European Union, through ACT’s project “ESCO – education for social cooperatives – new possibilities for disabled persons”, new sewing machines, washers and dryers, storage shelves and closets, as well as other infrastructural components were acquired. The Cooperative will start functioning in December 2011, almost simultaneously with the opening of the greenware store in Čakovec, which will sell reused and recycled clothes.

    If you want to dispose of your old clothes and help those in need, pack your clean textile items (clothes, curtains, sheets, etc.) and bring them to the sewing department of the Humana Nova Social Cooperative, located at Dr Ivan Novak Street 38 in Čakovec. For additional info, please contact the Cooperative at +385992496888.

    Four disabled persons employed

    The Humana Nova Social Cooperative is a distinguished promoter of social entrepreneurship, well-known both in Croatia and abroad. Its activities actively and directly contribute to the development of a society of tolerance and cooperation through aiding socially excluded persons and their families improve their lives. The Cooperative is but one of many social projects implemented in the Međimurje County by the ACT Autonomni Centar. The Cooperative currently employs four disabled persons and one professional coordinator. 

    The specific quality of this Cooperative lies in the fact that among its members are associations and persons who have recognized the importance of such initiatives and the potential contained in including disabled persons and other socially deprived groups in the production of quality and popular products. Their efforts, work and financial donations prove their devotion to improve the functioning of the Cooperative and life in the local community.

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    Komentari (2)Add Comment
    napisao used clothing, Listopad 31, 2013
    Dear sirs.

    We are interested in your used clothing.

    Quote to me your price and conditions.

    Best Regards.

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    napisao Ante, Studeni 03, 2013
    Joseph could you please contact Humana nova cooperative.

    Here you can find their contact info


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