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Q&A with CAP Member: Kate Kitchener

Aug 19, 2021

Briefly describe your background, interests & areas of expertise?

I began my work in waste prevention by implementing waste reduction strategies and testing alternative packaging options in the private sector. I then worked on an initiative to create green jobs in waste management. Currently, I am the Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Sanitation Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability where we implement programs to recycle organics, textiles, and electronics. I also have a strong focus on extended producer responsibility legislation and serve on the boards of both the Product Stewardship Institute and the New York State Product Stewardship Council.

What does circularity in the textiles industry mean to you?

Circularity means making new clothes out of old clothes, but it’s also important to make clothes that last longer in the first place.

 

What does your company/organisation do to bring about circularity (core relevant activities/commitments, highlight short and long term goals, if relevant).

The NYC Department of Sanitation implements recycling programs for textiles and electronics. In addition, the Department’s donateNYC program focuses on reuse by connecting businesses with excess goods to nonprofits who can use them.

 

What made your decision to join the CAP?

Some portion of textiles can be recycled and reused through our programs, but many textiles are not suited for reuse. We will need technology to address this portion of the waste stream.

 

What do you believe the biggest hurdles/opportunities for transitioning to a new circular business mindset will be, for WA, for the industry?

The challenge that many circular projects face is the cheapness of virgin materials. The industry will have to make the business case for a more sustainable approach.

 

Name 3 things you think businesses will be doing differently in a circular future.

Communicating, sharing resources, and coordinating.

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