MARCH 2012

Website aims to get used clothing out of landfills

For the first time ever, clothing brands, retailers, consumers, municipalities, charitable organizations, academics and recyclers are joining forces to promote the recycling of clothing and textiles. The Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) recently released its new website aimed at educating the public on the importance of recycling all clothing and textiles, not just those that are “gently worn.”

“Our goal is to have zero post-consumer textile waste going into landfills by 2037,” said Eric Stubin, CTR chairman of the board. “In the United States the average person discards 70 lbs. of old clothing, shoes and household textiles in their local landfill each year. We’re educating people that clothing and textiles are among the most recyclable items in their home.”

In the U.S., the EPA estimates more than 25 billion pounds of clothing and textiles are generated annually. The agency also reports more than 21 billion pounds (70 lbs. per person) of post-consumer textile waste ends up in landfills every year, while only 15 percent of all post-consumer textiles enter the recycling stream.

Studies conducted at both the federal and state level show clothing and textiles make up more than 5 percent of all materials going into local landfills. “Consumers don’t realize 95 percent of all clothing and textiles is recyclable,” said Jackie King, executive director of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association and member of the board of directors of the Council for Textile Recycling. “As long as items are clean and dry, even those that are stained or torn, they can be processed by textile recyclers, extending the end-of-life of the material.”

Consumers are encouraged to visit the Council’s new website at: www.weardonaterecycle.org to learn more and to join the organization. The Council for Textile Recycling will compile a resource library for consumers, municipalities, apparel and footwear brands and retailers interested in developing clothing and footwear recycling programs. A database of end-users including charities and private sector recyclers from all aspects of the industry will also be available to members of the Council for Textile Recycling.