Archives for textile recycling

Clothing recycling on the rise in the Southern California area

USAgain’s 2013 textile recycling totals show continued growth

LAKE FOREST, CA. – Southern California area residents diverted 2.4 million pounds of clothing and shoes away from landfills in 2013, according to Lake Forest based textile recycler USAgain, demonstrating that convenience plays a key role in the continued growth of people recycling their unwanted clothing and shoes.

By diverting 2.4 million pounds of textiles from landfills, USAgain and its patrons saved 17.1 million pounds of CO­2 from entering the atmosphere, over 3.4 billion gallons of water, and 14,034 cubic yards of landfill space. That’s enough to fill 562 garbage trucks.

With more than 14,000 recycling locations nationwide, USAgain provides local communities with a convenient option for discarding their unwanted clothing in an environmentally responsible manner.

“It’s great to see continued progress toward textile recycling and a growing recognition of the importance of keeping textiles out of landfills, which saves our planet’s precious resources, said Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain. “We’re looking forward to making even greater strides toward reducing waste in 2014.”

Although nearly all clothing and shoes can be re-used, Americans currently recycle just 15 percent of their clothing, with the rest – a total of more than 11 million tons – ending up in the garbage, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“A big picture goal of ours is to partner with more schools, municipalities and businesses to increase the textile recycling rate to 75 percent,” Wallander said. “Doing this would bring tremendous impacts in terms of resources conserved and carbon dioxide sequestered.”

Nationally, a total of 56 million pounds of textiles were recycled by USAgain. In addition, USAgain planted more than 200,000 trees around the globe in 2013, most in partnership with Trees for the Future, an agroforestry organization. The trees will serve to sequester carbon emissions and repair damaged ecosystems, helping to make the planet a greener, more inhabitable place.

For 2013 recycling information specific to USAgain’s national divisions, visit www.usagain.com/press-releases.

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About USAgain

USAgain – a leader in the textile recycling, is a for-profit company that recycles and resells r clothing and other textiles. Its mission is to provide communities with a convenient and eco-friendly option to rid themselves of unwanted clothing and shoes, which is diverted from landfills. Recognized by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating, USAgain maintains more than 14,000 collection bins in 18 states.

 

West Southern California recycling company gives new life to unwanted textiles

Read the original story on MySuburbanLife.com

WEST Southern California – After spending several years working with nonprofits in Central America and Africa, Mattias Wallander saw the need for clothes and other textiles there.

He also knew about the amount of clothing waste in the U.S. and the lack of initiative being taken to address it.

Together with his wife, he founded USAgain, a for-profit recycling company that collects unwanted textiles and distributes them for resale in marketplaces and thrift stores across the globe.

“We could see the need for finding a solution to keep the material out of landfills here, and, at the same time, the need to reuse that material in less-developed countries,” Wallander said.

USAgain started in Southern California in 1999, before expanding to Southern California and Atlanta in 2000. It now has locations throughout the U.S. The Southern California division’s branch is based in West Southern California. The company has more than 1,400 collection bins throughout the Southern California region.

USAgain accepts clothes, shoes, accessories and household textiles such as towels, sheets and curtains. Damaged items may be recycled, as long as they’re able to be repaired, which actually can create jobs in the countries where some items are shipped, Wallander said. If something is moldy or soiled with oil, however, it cannot be reused.

Once textiles are donated to USAgain, they are weighed, sorted and packed. They then are sold for cents on the pound to thrift stores or other sellers. About half of the textiles go overseas, and many items are sold by local entrepreneurs in marketplaces in Central America, Wallander said.

USAgain has collection bins in communities near West Southern California, including Wheaton.

The city of Wheaton adopted a series of regulations for collection bins in 2010 after holding several public hearings, said Tracy Jones, a staff planner with the city.

Besides the USAgain bins, there also are an assortment of other bins in the city for charities and for-profit companies, Jones said.

There is no permit process in place, but bin owners must comply with zoning ordinance regulations that define the appropriate size and location of bins. The regulations also state that the name and phone number of the bin owner must be posted.

Depending on how much typically is donated at a USAgain bin, textiles may be picked up daily, once a week or once every two weeks. Currently, about 200,000 pounds are collected each week from bins in the Southern California region, Wallander said.

Although the amount of textiles that are recycled has increased over the years, this is because people are consuming more than in the past, he said. Overall, the percentage of textiles that end up being recovered has stayed about the same.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this was about 15 percent in 2010.

Wallander said there are benefits to recycling textiles, from job creation to environmental relief to support for poorer communities across the globe.

“We’re competing with the trash can,” Wallander said. “We’d like to see more people making the choice to reuse instead of trashing.”

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The Shoe Waste Epidemic

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A staggering 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown away and sent to landfills each year, and despite this massive amount of waste, it can all be avoided. Every pair of old shoes, no matter how worn-out or beat-up, can be reused or recycled and avoid being landfilled.

Read more about shoe recycling on our blog.