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SMART takes steps to address clothing collection bins
Aug '13
The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), as part of its continuing effort to provide leadership in the clothing and textile recycling industry, is taking several positive steps which focus on the issues surrounding clothing collection bins.

The Association recently developed a package of documents designed to help local governments considering measures to manage clothing collection bins in their communities. In addition, a committee of chief executives whose companies operate collection bin programs has been formed to make recommendations to promote clothing recycling through collection bins that meet the approval of local communities.

SMART is an international trade association representing companies in the for-profit clothing and textile recycling industry.

“SMART is trying to educate government officials, and the public, on the importance of clothing and textiles as recyclable products and the many contributions the industry is making in local communities while at the same time working to guarantee gold standard business practices and transparency in the industry,” says Jackie King, Executive Director of SMART.

According to King, SMART has written a “position paper” and draft legislative language to help elected officials considering possible measures for regulating collection bins and to ensure they are appropriate for their own communities.

The position paper outlines the important role that clothing recycling plays in helping local communities achieve key economic, environmental, and philanthropic objectives and describes the features of a legislative measure that will both protect the interests of the community and its people while preserving the industry’s vital contributions.

The template ordinance, meanwhile, serves as a concrete example of such a measure and requires companies placing clothing collection bins to clearly state on its collection bins that it is a for-profit company. The draft ordinance also requires companies to meet all local zoning and permitting requirements, to have permission before placing a bin, to clearly provide contact information on the collection bins, to maintain the bins on a regular schedule, and to respond in a timely manner should a complaint be received about a particular collection bin.

“Local legislators should consider clothing to be a recyclable, just like aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspaper and cardboard. Clothing collection bins are a convenient alternative that encourages the public to direct clothing into the recycling stream and out of local landfills,” says King.

“In its study of municipal solid waste, the EPA states 22.18 billion pounds of textiles are annually placed in municipal landfills, while only 4 billion pounds are recovered via reuse or recycling; 1 of those 22 billion pounds in landfills, fully 95% could have been reused or recycled.”

According to King, SMART also has a Code of Conduct for its member companies that place clothing collection bins in communities. The Code mirrors the draft legislation in its requirements for communicating the nature of the business to the public while meeting local permitting and zoning requirements. King says the Association is also currently developing plans to present its information at meetings and conferences of local government officials to further educate them on the importance of clothing recycling.

Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association

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