Next time you are tempted to toss a pile of worn out clothing down the incinerator, embrace the idea of recycling as it will affect generations to come. Below are handful of rad facts to open your mind to recycling textiles.
- The first photo is taken at a typical recycling facility. Items are sorted into alike categories such as material, color or style of garment. Once sorted, bulk items are turned into something new. The clothes in the photograph will be re-born as either carpeting or mixed rags.
- Even if items seem to worn out to be used by anyone, donating them to Goodwill or Salvation Army ensures they will be passed on to recycling facilities where they become mixed rags, carpets or insulating material. These organizations recycle over 12 million pounds of worn out textiles every year.
- Recycling facilities are small, family-owned businesses, with fewer than 500 employees. The industry employs approximately 10,000 semi-skilled workers at the primary processing level, and creates an additional 7,000 jobs at the final processing stage. Annual gross sales in the textile recycling industry are $700 million.
- 70% of your old donated jeans are being used as cloths to wipe oil off of engine parts.
- The 2nd photo is what the textile recycling industry calls a “Bale”. This bale contains white cotton shirts that have been cut into rags. The bales are sold to paint stores, machine shops, auto shops, government and the cleaning industry.
- The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 97% of post-consumer textile waste is recyclable. (6)
- Recycling has tons of incentives! Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading will give you cash or store credit in exchange for the clothes they buy from you. Both Goodwill and Salvation Army offer tax forms that you can file for tax deductions.
- Textile recycling requires less energy than any other type of recycling. Textile recycling does not create any new hazardous waste or harmful by-products.