The Tide May be Turning in the News Media Regarding Clothing Recycling
For the past several years, SMART has worked to educate the public, local government officials, and members of the news media of the importance of recycling used clothing. We are all familiar with the typical news story on the industry... clothing collection bins are cluttering our community and are diverting "donations" from charitable organizations. Recently the South Bend (IN) Tribune published a story by reporter Alice Clup that was a balanced look at the industry.
Ms. Clup's article featured a conversation with the Executive Director of the local St. Vincent de Paul Society, Anne Watson. Ms. Watson recalls how before she began working with the charity, her family "pitched" holey and stained t-shirts and other used clothing. Know she knows, and clearly states in the story, that all used clothing can and should be recycled.
In the article, information is also provided on how much used clothing is discarded annually, how much a typical person throws away each year, and how much of the material in a typical landfill is used clothing and household textiles that could have been recycled. All facts that are shared regularly by SMART.
Perhaps the most important part of the article, from SMART's perspective, is when Ms. Culp described how several major charities in the area deal with used clothing they cannot sell in their local retail outlets. The article provides details on how the clothing is formed into bales that are sold to for-profit clothing recyclers. One charity reports how many bales they sell annually, another reports "shipping out a tractor-trailer load" each month.
In response to the article, SMART contacted Ms. Culp to thank her for her story, to offer additional information on the Association and to be available to her for any future articles on the industry.
It is through news reports like these that the public's perception of used clothing is being changed from something to be "donated" to a product that needs to be recycled.
To read Ms. Culp's article headlined "Thrift stores sell damaged items to textile recyclers" click here.
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Materials and Recycled Textiles Association
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