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SMART says textile recycling lessons hit with teachers
Jun '13
The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) reports that more than 12,000 elementary school teachers visited the “Wear It? Recycle It!” program hosted on the SMART website this past school year; the “Wear It? Recycle It!” program allowed teachers to access and utilize lesson plans designed to promote clothing and textile recycling.

The program's creators say this is one of the strongest responses they have ever seen to a newly developed lesson-plan program. The “Wear it? Recycle It!” lesson plans were introduced in October 2012, the same academic year.

SMART officials estimate that a “better-than-expected” 323,400 students and 12,900 teachers used the “Wear It? Recycle It!” lesson plans and 90 entries were received in a related poster design contest.

The entire program, including online micro-website, print and digital promotion, generated a total of more than 2,546,000 impressions during the duration of the program.

SMART developed the “Wear It? Recycle It!” educational program in conjunction with The Education Center to present information on clothing and other textiles as recyclable products. The grade-appropriate educational materials showed students that clothing and other textiles can be recycled just like items in their homes they currently recycle such as paper, plastic, glass and aluminum.

“Our class used the lessons during a week-long session that went along with the environmental education unit in our science classes. We discussed recycling your typical items (glass, paper, aluminum). Learning about the recycling of our clothing was an added bonus that fit perfectly into the lesson,” said Margaret Lasee, 3rd grade teacher at Phillips Elementary School, Phillips, WI. “We also did a number of the worksheets to reinforce the lesson. The wrap up of the unit was the poster contest.”

The supplemental lessons are a comprehensive program that teaches students they can recycle more than just their old jeans and t-shirts and that many items they use every day are made from recycled clothing and textiles. The free materials were promoted on a website and through the various outlets of The Education Center.

“We are thrilled to see the number of teachers and students who took advantage of the “Wear It? Recycle It!’ program,” says Jackie King, Executive Director of SMART. “The curricula not only supports the overall educational effort of the teachers, it also delivers an impactful message to the students which encourages the recycling of clothing and textiles. The program highlighted everything SMART stands for from an environmental perspective.”

In addition to the lesson plans, the “Wear It?, Recycle It!” educational program also included a poster design contest. SMART received 90 entries from schools across the U.S. created. The posters showed the benefits of textile recycling, especially recycling their used clothing.

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