“Too often, the public doesn’t consider clothing to be “recyclable” as they do plastic, paper, glass, and aluminum cans," says SMART President Lou Buty. “Recent studies by the EPA show the average American consumer throws away 70 pounds of textile products annually, textiles that could otherwise be recycled. SMART encourages consumers to direct their clothing and textiles to re-use and recycling outlets, not into the nation’s landfills and incinerators.”
According to SMART, ninety-five percent of all clothing and household textiles can be recycled or repurposed. The repurposing of textile products includes converting them into wiping cloths or re-manufacturing them into products such as insulation, carpet padding, or sound proofing material. “Only 5 percent of all textile materials are ultimately disposed of as trash because they are either wet or are contaminated with oil, paint, or some other hazardous material,” says Buty. “We want the public to know all clothing and household textiles such as tablecloths, sheets, shoes, belts, curtains and stuffed animals can be recycled. As long as the items are clean, even if they are stained or damaged, there is a recycling use for the material.”
Wiping cloths made from recycled textiles also have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than newly manufactured wiping cloths or laundered rags according to SMART Executive Director, Jackie King. King adds, the EPA estimates more than five million pounds of untreated contaminates flow into the nation’s waterways annually from laundered wiping cloths. When manufacturing a new cotton shop towel 17 gallons of water and more than 66 BTU’s of energy are required during the entire process. Conversely, the creation of a wiping cloth from a recycled textile uses no water and virtually no energy.
Consumers who want to add clothing and textiles to their recycling routine can locate recyclers in their area by visiting SMART’s web site. It allows users to enter their Zip Code to identify the closest organization that accepts clothing and other household textiles for recycling.
Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART) is an international nonprofit trade association that strengthens the economic opportunities of its diverse membership by promoting the interdependence of our industry segments and providing a common forum for networking, education and trade. Since 1932, SMART has been at the forefront of recycling. SMART members use and convert recycled and secondary materials from used clothing, commercial laundries and non-woven, off spec material, new mill ends and paper from around the world. SMART member companies create thousands of jobs worldwide. SMART members prove each day that you can make money by being socially responsible.
Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART)
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