What We Do To Be Sustainable
Sustainability is our number one value at Valhalla. It's what lead us down the revolutionary path to start a collective closet. With the advent of fast fashion, we're consuming clothing at an alarmingly increasing rate; in 2012 clothing factories manufactured 80 billion items and in 2016 the number rose by 60 billion items to 150 billion. This rate of consumption just isn't sustainable, no matter how you look at it.
Valhalla's business model was inspired by the circular economy model which works to keep products and components at their highest utility and value at all times. We purchase clothing from the used market, we then rent clothing out to members, and when the clothing is beyond it's useful life, we ensure that it is recycled into jewelry or into other materials such as carpet cushioning. This keeps used clothing out of landfills and keeps our members from having to purchase new clothing.
But we didn't just stop at our business model for sustainability, we try to incorporate sustainable practices into everything we do; we live and breathe reduce, reuse, recycle.
- All of our tags are hand made at the store, made out of recycled cardboard and then we reuse them. Every time an item of clothing is rented or sold, the tag is taken off and reused.
- We use Puracy products because they're made out of 99.5% naturally derived ingredients. It keeps harmful chemicals out of our water - and off your skin.
- The reusable wool dryer balls we use can cut drying times in half which saves energy and wear and tear on the dryer and clothes. It also eliminates the need to use dryer sheets because they also help reduce static.
- We use an energy and water efficient laundry equipment.
- The color catching wash sheets we use on color loads helps keep dyes from leaching on to other clothing in the wash, thereby reducing clothing waste.
- We time the washer cycle to be completed before the dryer so that the new load can benefit from a preheated dryer, reducing energy waste.
- While we would love to use renewable energy, Valhalla does not own the building so we're stuck with energy from the grid. Valhalla's owner, however, does have solar panels installed on her home in Seminole Heights.
- Valhalla's owner and founder walks to work to reduce her carbon foot print.
- We use LED light bulbs throughout the store. Even our open sign that is designed to look like a neon sign is actually LED lighting. Artificial lighting represents 40% of electricity consumption in a typical office building so this is a big savings in terms of reducing our fossil fuel consumption.
- We use a tankless water heater to heat our water. Since we don't use hot water often to wash clothing, using a large tanked water heater would be an incredibly large waste of energy as water is heated in the tank and stored for future use. Our water heater heats the water as we use it which allows us to only heat the hot water we use.
- While it may not seem like a lot of energy, computers can eat up a lot so we turn ours off at night.
- The little things we do adds up in a big way. In the first 5 months after we rented the space we didn't have a single electric bill that exceed $100 and that includes our first month of washing and drying every single item in inventory.
- We don't use disposable dishware, instead we use dishes, glasses, and silverware for lunches.
- We use a water purifying jug made out of sustainable materials instead of using plastic water bottles.
- We use reusable batteries instead of disposable.
- The wood used in our window display, counter, barn door, and plant wall are made out almost 100% reclaimed wood.
- When we can't take items for trade, we offer to donate them to The Spring of Tampa Bay.
- We host swaps every once in a while. Check our events page to see the next scheduled swap.
- We don't provide plastic bags to our customers; instead, we offer a reusable bag for $6. In the first 2 months of operations, we saved 500 disposable bags from being produced. Little know fact: The city of Tampa does not recycle plastic bags; any that make their way into city recycling go to our landfill.
- Our damaged clothing is donated to Recover T to be made into jewelry. Anything they can't use goes to The Spring to be recycled into rags and cushioning material - carpet pads and stuffing for furniture.
- Because the city doesn't make it easy for businesses to recycle, the owner takes all recyclable materials home with her to be recycled in her home bin.
- While we do use some paper products for marketing (business cards and flyers) Valhalla runs almost entirely without paper.
- We don't use paper towels - we use hand towels or rags made from damaged clothes instead.
- While we launder all of the items you purchase or rent, we do not dry clean or purchase dry clean only clothing. Dry cleaning solvents are very bad for the environment and the "at home dry cleaning" kits only freshen clothing, they don't actually clean them.
If you have any suggestions for what else we can do to be more sustainable, we'd love to hear from you! We love suggestions.