WM invests in textile recycler

WM is making its first investment into textile recycling by buying into Debrand, which provides reverse logistics for textiles.

WM expects to offer new textile recycling capabilities for its customers and provide circular solutions across North America.

The terms of the investment agreement were not disclosed.

Debrand is headquartered in Vancouver, and customers include Lululemon Athletica, Canada Goose, Aritzia, Kit and Ace, IKEA Canada, and Everlane.

“We work with our customers to unlock the highest-value for their products by extending the products’ life through reuse or recycling,” said Amelia Eleiter, co-founder of Debrand.

“Not only will WM’s investment allow us to integrate our solutions at scale across North America, but we will also be able to empower new and existing customers’ to run efficient and profitable circular systems.”

This year, Debrand is projected to divert nearly 1,000 tons of used textiles (a 125 percent year-over-year expansion), from landfills through resale, recycling and repurposing channels.

WM’s investment will help Debrand speed up plans to expand operations, capabilities, customer network, and its team.

“Our customers are looking for ways to reduce waste from their operations, enhance their sustainability reporting, and accelerate the transition to a circular economy,” said Eric Dixon, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Solutions at WM.

“After working with Debrand, we recognized the immense value of their cutting-edge textile allocation technology that has enabled us to enhance sortation and divert our customers’ textile waste from landfills into circular solutions. Over 17 million tons of used textile waste are generated annually in the U.S., and our investment in Debrand will help rapidly grow and scale textile solutions and innovation across North America.”

Significant demand and growth is expected for Debrand’s reverse logistics textile solutions in response to climate change and the movement towards a circular economy. The fashion industry is one of the highest producers of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally, and a growing number of brands have committed to adopting circular strategies to reduce GHG emissions that derive from producing fibers and raw materials.

World leaders and organizations, such as NATO, have also pledged their commitment to reducing emissions by at least 45% by 2030. Consumers and regulators are putting pressure on companies to embrace circular business models to alleviate the burden on already stressed natural resources and move towards a sustainable future.

“I am excited and honored that WM has made this investment in our company, team, and technology,” said Eleiter. “With their support, we will be able to scale our business and help even more companies transform the way they process returned and surplus inventory by eliminating waste and inefficiencies and prioritizing reuse, recycle and resale opportunities.”