We strive to be as efficient as possible, creating as little waste as we can. Scrap fabric is turned into yarn for new garments when possible or used by our custodial team for cleaning. Our knit and dye houses participate alongside our warehouse headquarters to divert remaining fabric and yarn scraps, paper, plastic, wooden pallets, cardboard tubes and cones, metal and electronic waste from landfills.
Innovative and Creative Reuse
We love putting creative ideas into practice. American Apparel donates truckloads of safe and curious excess materials to Trash for Teaching (TFT), a non-for-profit organization. TFT educates over 100 LA schools about resource management at the manufacturing level. Students make crafts from excess materials, while learning why reuse is the first step to sustainable practice. At the warehouse, we take notes on spiral pads made from old advertising and display materials, as well as the clean paper waste from offices and our Graphics Department. Our cardboard boxes are collected and reused as many times as possible rather than processed into pulp, saving energy and chemical inputs. We use recycled fiber yarns, made from our own fabric scrap, back into American Apparel product lines as hats and ties, with even more to come.
Energy and Water Efficiency
We executed a full retrofit of light fixtures in our factory and implemented daylight-harvesting technology, a move that saves over a million kilowatt hours of energy each year. We are also examining how to improve the efficiency of our industrial air compressors, bathroom fixtures and further modifications to our low-impact dye process that will address water filtration and energy sources.
We are always looking for more ecologically sound materials and services. Our catalogs are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper with non-toxic inks. American Apparel is beginning to incorporate sustainable fabrics such as bamboo and recycled polyester into our product line. We are always looking into more recycled blends to integrate into our main line.
American Apparel houses a state-of-the-art solar panel installation on the roof of our downtown LA factory. This system generates 150 kilowatts of clean, renewable power, contributing 15% of our energy needs.
We enacted a bike lending program in 2005. We've recently increased the number of bicycles, helmets and locks that we have on hand, assuring that this free service is accessible to even more employees. We also provide a subsidized bus pass program available to employees.