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The Council for Textile Recycling (CTR), based in Bel Air, MD, recently released a new website aimed at educating the public on the importance of recycling all clothing and textiles, not just those that are gently worn. This initiative marks the first time clothing brands, retailers, consumers, municipalities, charitable organizations, academics and recyclers are joining forces to promote the recycling of clothing and textiles.
The new CTR website—www.weardonaterecycle.org—mirrors the organization’s slogan: Wear. Donate. Recycle. “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 pounds of their 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 United States, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates more than 25 billion pounds of clothing and textiles including clothing, linens, belts, and shoes 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 with only 15% of all post-consumer textiles enter the recycling stream.
Said Stubin, “I am active in many organizations that promote sustainable clothing manufacturing and green initiatives in the apparel industry, and it’s exciting to finally have an organization representing all of the stakeholders as we strive to bring wide scale awareness to a very solvable problem. If consumers, municipalities and the apparel industry implement, promote, and market, ‘Wear. Donate. Recycle’ we will significantly divert more post consumer textile waste in the years to come.”
Studies conducted at both the federal and state level show clothing and textiles make up more than 5% of all materials going into local landfills. “Consumers don’t realize 95% 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.”
The Council will be compiling 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 CTR. (Charities, municipalities, and academics can join for free.)