We are all used to recycling bottles, cans and papers. We don’t throw books away any more, and lots of people think twice about items like toothbrushes.
It is not a surprise to learn that clothing can be recycled too.
81lbs of clothing per person/per year
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that clothing contributes a staggering 3.8billion pounds to landfills every year, that equates to approximately 5% of all landfill.
What happens to recycled clothes and shoes
Clothes and shoes that can still be worn are often sold in second-hand shops or sent to developing countries, but clothing that has gone beyond the possibility of wear gets processed into a second something. Appropriately shoe soles become paving materials. Stuffed toys and pillows can become the inside of a car seat. Amazingly used denim is turned into home insulation.
If nothing better can be done, then materials like t-shirts, sheets and towels become wiping cloths which you can shop rags in bulk.
This is not a new idea
In 1932 the recycling industry formed an association aptly known as SMART (Secondary Materials And Recycled Textiles). Companies in the association are committed to a ‘green’ ethos, green manufacturing processes and an education program.
Currently there are nearly 150 companies in the association located all over the world. 20,000 jobs in the U.S. alone exist in companies committed to the SMART vision. Many of the companies involved are small or start-up companies. All of them provide work for semi-skilled people. No wonder the program has been a resounding success.
Smart companies know where their materials go. 45% is reused as clothing, 30% goes into rags and cleaning cloths, 20% is broken down into basic fibers and 5% is waste. Recycle and don’t feel guilty any more.