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New York City Launches Creative Textile Recycling Initiative

July 9th, 2010 · 2 Comments

New York City launches creative textile recycling initiative for a nonprofit company to supply bins for a clothing and textile recycling program they are starting this September.


Smart was green before green was smart.” A PSA video by SMART, the textile recycling industry trade group.

What do you do with your old clothes? Well, if you live in New York City, you’ll likely deposit them for recycling, starting this September. NYC is introducing a unique used textile recycling initiative that might likely become a model for other cities to emulate.

With kids growing up so fast and fashion trends changing quicker than you can say “style,” most urban American households today are likely to have at least one closet full of used pants, shirts, dresses, etc. Add your used sheets, towels, canvass shoes, socks, etc. to this pile and you’ll have a heap of used clothing and textile products that will most probably end up in your city’s landfill.

It’s true. Most people find it easier to cast off old clothing into the nearest garbage bin than to have these recycled or reused by other people. More than half of people who donate clothes say that “they wouldn’t go more than 10 minutes out of their way to make a donation,” according to survey of 600 adults conducted in the US and Canada by Goodwill Industries. It’s this aversion to being inconvenienced that make people throw away often reusable stuff – in 2008 alone, more than 190,000 tons of textiles were dumped into New York City’s landfills.


Interview with Adam Baruchowitz, owner of Wearable Collections, a clothing and textile recycling company based in New Jersey.

New York City is currently considering bids for a 10 to 15 year contract with a nonprofit organization to supply and maintain textile recycling bins to the city. Under the program 50 such collection bins will be placed in high traffic locations all over the city. Officials hope that the easy accessibility of these collection points will take the inconvenience factor off the equation.

A New Jersey-based textile recycling company, Wearable Collections, is well ahead in this initiative – it has been providing free bins for cloth recycling to tenants of apartment buildings for years now, all over the East Coast. Less than 5 percent of all textile donations they receive are totally unusable – the majority are resold, or used as rags or insulation.

If the plan succeeds in New York City, officials hope that this will spark a nationwide movement to recycle more textile. Such a development would automatically mean lesser solid waste going into our landfills. More importantly, textile or cloth recycling creates more jobs (85 times more, to be exact) than landfills, according to an estimate.

Well, congratulations on your great idea New York City and good luck.

Source: Associated Press (Yahoo News)

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Tags: Recycling

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