Clothing, fabrics, and textile-based materials are a part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s the clothes we wear or the bath towels and blankets we use or the drapes and carpets in our homes and offices, these are some of the simplest items to re-use or recycle. Even in less populated areas, there are community groups and social service agencies interested in obtaining your older clothing and linens for worthy purposes, so why dispose of these items in the trash when you can pass them along to groups or businesses that can put them to good use!
In most municipalities, textile waste is about five percent of all trash collected. That might not seem like very much, but collectively, throughout the United States, that’s over thirteen million tons of waste going to landfills. In 2011, only two million tons of textiles were donated or recycled.
If your business, town, or place of worship wants to make a difference in reducing waste, textile collection is a great place to start. One key point to remember as you plan your waste collection strategy is that all clothing and textiles must be kept dry – dampness can easily set in and render the clothing or materials unusable due to mold and mildew! Keeping collected items in plastic bags away in a dry location is the best way to ensure that your items can be re-used by others or re-manufactured into new goods and products.
In addition to gently used clothing being used to help those in need, unwanted textiles are also in demand by businesses to make products such as cleaning materials, high-end paper supplies, car insulation, padding for furniture, environmentally friendly construction materials and carpets.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is throwing unwanted or out-dated textiles into the trash, you’re also throwing precious dollar bills away as well! Take a look into textile recycling, re-sale or donation options and you’ll be saving green while going green!