As the trade association of for-profit companies in the clothing and textile recycling industry, SMART is striving to increase the public’s awareness of how their unwanted clothing and household textiles are processed when being placed in clothing collection bins across the nation. The Association calls for all companies in the clothing collection bin industry to be 100% transparent regarding their business practices.
“We are seeing local governments restricting the ability of for-profit clothing recycling companies to place clothing collection bins in their communities,” says Lou Buty, President of SMART. “These restrictions increase the likelihood clothing and other household textiles which could have been re-used or recycled will instead go into local landfills or incinerators.”
According to Buty, the Environmental Protection Agency and local state studies show 5-to-7% of the materials in local landfills are clothing or textiles. “Local municipalities need to recognize the impact these materials have on the life of their landfills and the economic impact the unnecessary discarding of these materials will have on their communities as their landfills become filled,” says Buty. Source: EPA Municipal Waste Study 2010
To help state and local governments manage clothing collection bins locally, SMART’s Board of Directors has approved draft language for local legislation regarding clothing collection bins. “The Association is frequently approached by officials seeking language for clothing collection bin regulations. While every city has different methods for regulating local businesses, which makes it difficult to craft a one-size-fits-all approach, SMART has identified a number of key recommendations to achieve effective and community-sensitive ordinances,” says Jackie King, SMART Executive Director.
King continues, “For-profit textile recyclers routinely partner with local charities. These partnerships allow the charities to share in the profit from the proceeds of the collection of unwanted clothing, shoes, textiles and other household items in communities. As a number of charities have stated on the record, these arrangements provide essential, risk-free funding that is difficult to secure through other sources.”
In addition to the draft ordinance language, SMART has established a Code of Conduct for clothing collection bins. The Code requires companies to be transparent about their business model by clearly informing the public they are a for-profit company. Contact information for the clothing collection bin operator is also required, along with information regarding any charitable partners if applicable. The Code of Conduct also requires the collection bin operators to comply with all local zoning laws and to have permission before placing a clothing collection bin. All collection bins must also be routinely maintained and the company must respond to all complaint calls in a timely manner.
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