“Clothes the Loop” is the theme of a statewide campaign to promote clothing and textile recycling.
Throughout New York, municipalities are initiating an outreach campaign that encourages residents to “Clothes the Loop” by recycling their unwanted clothing and household textiles.
“By engaging local municipalities to promote clothing and textile recycling, the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) is making a great step forward in educating the public about the importance of keeping used clothing out of landfills,” says Jackie King, executive director of Secondary Materials And Recycled Textiles (SMART) Association.
SMART is the international trade association of the for-profit textile and used clothing recycling industry, while the Council for Textile Recycling works to bring together all aspects of clothing recycling including manufacturers, retailers, consumers, academicians, and municipal employees.
According to NYSAR3, each year, New York State residents dispose of some 1.4 billion pounds of recoverable clothes and textiles, with an estimated market value over $200 million. NYSAR3 estimates that some 9,600 jobs would be created across the state if that material was dropped off for reuse and recycling. Across the country, only 15 percent of recyclable clothes and textiles are actually recovered; 85 percent ends up in the trash.
SMART estimates the average person throws away 70 pounds of used clothing annually; of those 70 pounds, 95 percent could have been reused or recycled. Industry officials say only clothing that is wet (mildewed) or has been contaminated with a solvent such as gasoline, paint, or odorous cleaner cannot be recycled.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report on municipal solid waste (2012), 14.33 million tons of waste is generated annually that is exclusively clothing and other household textiles. Of that amount, only 15.7 percent or 2.25 million tons is recycled.
Published in the January 2015 Edition of American Recycler News