By now, recycling our cardboard, glass and aluminum cans has become second nature to most of us. Still, the landfills continue to grow, overflowing with massive amounts of waste including an estimated 1.4 billion pounds of textiles. By some accounts this means that on average American households toss away around 70 lbs of material a year. Wowza!
Fortunately, New York City is attempting to curve this waste with a newly launched textile recovery program called, “Clothes the Loop.”
The program is a partnership between The Council for Textile Recycling and The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR) and Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART). Together they have estimated that the market value of the States discarded textiles is around 2 million dollars with the added potential of creating nearly 9,000 new jobs around the recovery, reuse and recycling of the textile materials.
With the enormous environmental and economic benefits clear, the next step in spreading the word has begun. The goal of the program as stated on the website is to,
…educate New Yorkers about the reuse/recyclability of the various textiles they dispose of and give them the tools they need to find the most convenient drop-off locations nearest them.”
The list of acceptable textile items for recycling is surprisingly diverse, including shoes, stuffed animals, linens, hats, belts, and canvas. With such variety it’s clear that by getting the word out, this program could cause significant change, especially if other states follow suit.
PHOTO: courtesy of mother nature network
Read all articles by Juniper Briggs