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USAgain’s California August Update

Click the thumbnail to learn about some of the work we’ve been doing in California.

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USAgain Wins Award from CRRA

USAgain was the recipient of the California Resource Recovery Association’s award for Outstanding Commitment to Closing the Loop in 2013.

CRRA presents several awards at its annual conference. The award for Outstanding Commitment to Closing the Loop is given to a business, government agency, community-based organization or school that has implemented an innovative program that features the procurement of products that reduce waste, have recycled content and/or are safer alternatives to toxic products.

Read the official release

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USAgain Announces Appointment of Nick Yagar as Division Manager for Southern California Operations

LAKE FOREST, CA – USAgain, the textile recycling company is proud to announce and welcome Nick Yagar as Division Manager for the company’s Southern California operations.

Nick joins USAgain with 20-plus years’ experience managing a business of laundry equipment in residential buildings in the Los Angeles area. During his successful tenure, Nick directed all the sales and business development efforts to grow and manage a business at 3,500 sites. This breadth of managerial experience makes Nick a natural fit and a true asset for leading the USAgain’s SoCal division.

“We’re very excited to welcome Nick to our team” says Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain. “Under his guidance, we look forward to a successful expansion of recycling operations in the area.”

Nick will serve an instrumental role in USAgain’s growth in Southern California, bringing tight focus on building stronger team and improving customer relations while expanding USAgain textile recycling programs in the local community.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the USAgain team,” says Yagar. “I look forward to leading the Southern California division toward our goal to be the premier clothing and shoe recycler in the region.”

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About USAgain
USAgain, a leader in the textile recycling industry, with corporate headquarters in Chicago, is a for-profit company that collects unwanted clothing and other textiles to keep them out of landfills. In 2012 alone, the company collected 58 million pounds of discarded clothing. USAgain operates over 10,000 collection bins in eighteen states. Their mission is to provide consumers with a convenient and eco-friendly option to rid themselves of excess clothing, which are then diverted from landfills. For more information, visit www.usagain.com

USAgain Tree Planting
200,000 Trees in 2013

USAgain’s environmental commitment stretches beyond clothing and textile recycling. In 2013, USAgain is expanding its green initiative by launching a tree-planting campaign, which will result in 200,000 trees being planted in regions of Ethiopia, Kenya and Honduras. By partnering with Trees for the Future, an agroforestry resource center based in Maryland, much-needed trees will be planted in these impoverished, environmentally-ravaged areas.

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Ethiopia

A semi-arid, mountainous region in southwestern Ethiopia, Konso is the site of USAgain’s tree planting partnership with Trees for the Future, helping to expand two watershed restoration projects in the villages of Duraite and Lehaite. Since 2010, Trees for the Future has been helping to reverse systematic agricultural and overgrazing failures in the area, working to prevent the highly erosive soils in both villages from washing away each wet season.

Kenya

Due to illegal activities, including timber harvesting, charcoal production, and fuel wood collection, Mount Kenya National Park experienced massive deforestation in the 1980s and 1990s. In an effort to reverse the negative effects deforestation has left on the region, nearly five million trees have been planted in and around Mount Kenya National Park, with USAgain contributing an additional 85,000 trees to be raised in six local nurseries.

Honduras

Two areas in Honduras have been selected for the USAgain tree planting project. An important watershed, source of irrigation and a stop for migratory birds, the Corralito Wildlife Reserve will receive 20,000 seedlings in 2013. Las Lajas, a major hydroelectric resevoir that provides more than 40% of the electric power for Honduras, will receive 45,000 seedlings of various species in a project meant to reforest the surrounding area.

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.

Twin Cities Marathon
October 6, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 12.10.07 PM (Southern California/St. Paul, MN)
USAgain has partnered with the Twin Cities Marathon to collected surplus clothing at the event. The USAgain/Marathon partnership has been going on for several years now, with over 10,000 pounds of clothing collected and recycled to date.

Clothing recycling catching on among Southern California residents

Southern California residents diverted nearly 2.5 million pounds of clothing and shoes from landfills in 2012, the textile recycler USAgain announced today.

That amounts to 563 garbage trucks of clothing. It also saved more than 14,000 cubic yards of landfill space, more than 17 million pounds of carbon emissions and nearly 3.5 billion gallons of water in 2012.

Nationally, USAgain, a for-profit clothing recycling company, diverted nearly 58 million pounds of unwanted clothing and shoes last year that would have otherwise been thrown into the trash and ultimately buried in landfills.

“This was a major accomplishment in curbing the negative impact that irresponsible textile disposal can have on our environment,” said USAgain CEO Mattias Wallander. “More people are beginning to realize and understand the environmental benefits in seeking a convenient way to having their old clothing recycled and re-used instead of throwing it in the garbage.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans discard 85 percent of unwanted clothing and shoes into the trash each year, amounting to more than 11 million tons of textiles that get dumped in landfills.

“Considering 85 percent of all textiles end up in landfills, all of us need to do a better job of looking for ways to recycle and re-purpose clothing,” Wallander added. “But when zero-cost recycling options like USAgain and charitable organizations are accessible and convenient, we can have a positive impact on the environment.”

The 58 million pounds of clothing that USAgain recovered would fill 13,257 garbage trucks. It would also fill 52 football fields – or one football field a week – 1 yard deep with reusable material. Overall, USAgain saved nearly 332,000 cubic yards of landfill space, conserved 406 million pounds of carbon emissions and spared 81 million gallons of water in 2012.

“Textile recycling isn’t just a trend we’re noticing in one specific part of the country,” said Wallander, noting USAgain’s growth throughout the nation during the past year. “Recycling habits are catching on nationwide.”

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About USAgain

USAgain – a leader in the textile recycling industry with corporate headquarters in West Chicago, IL. – is a for-profit company that recycles and resells reusable clothing and other textiles. Its mission is to provide consumers with a convenient and eco-friendly option to rid themselves of excess clothing, which is diverted from landfills. In 2012, USAgain was awarded an “A” rating by the Better Business Bureau. It maintains more than 10,000 collection boxes in 18 states and has nearly 200 employees. For more information, visit www.usagain.com.