April 2015

The Lifecycle of Recycled Textiles

The Secret Life of Recycled Textiles

Have you ever considered the true benefits of recycling unwanted textiles? The statistics will blow your mind. Not only does recycling divert textiles from the waste stream, it plays a major role in reducing greenhouse gases that harm our environment. Not to mention, most textiles can be reused and last for an extensive period of time.

95% of worn or torn textiles are recyclable. Yet, only 15% are actually recycled. The average U.S. citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing annually, cluttering landfills and slowly crippling our environment. With a little bit of awareness and effort, that number can decrease dramatically and make the world a happier, healthier place.

Some perspective - What happens to recycled textiles?

  • Usable clothing (45%) - Helps clothe those in need.
  • Wiping cloths (30%) - Lowers water and energy usage, as well as the carbon footprint.
  • Fiber conversion (20%) - Saves money and resources by processing textiles back into fibers and turning into paper, yarn, insulation, carpet padding and more.

Food for thought - Many of your household textiles can be used for other purposes.

  • Stained t-shirts wiping cloths
  • Socks pillow stuffing
  • Old denim housing insulation
  • Stuffed animal car seat stuffing

Also, see infographic on the lifecycle of rags.

Even though two million tons of textiles are recycled each year, which is equivalent to removing one million cars from our roadways in terms of emissions, there is still immense room for improvement. So, be SMART! Donate, recycle, but don't throw away!

 


2015 Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association
3465 Box Hill Corporate Center Drive, Suite H, Abingdon, MD 21009 P: 443-640-1050 x112 F: 443-640-1086

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