In case you missed our first entry in this series, we’re sharing “lessons learned” from our Convention’s speakers – all of whom are experts in their field. Next up, we’re highlighting Tom Szaky, CEO of Terracycle. Tom’s presentation, “Recycling and Reuse Before, During and After COVID-19” walked us through the theory of waste and how through complex business practices (and partnerships!) we can eliminate the idea of it.
Since 1932, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) has served as the premiere source of networking, education and advocacy for promoting the interdependence of the for-profile textile reuse and recycling industry. While COVID-19 has affected the way we interact and share information with our members, that did not stop us from having an extremely successful Annual Convention (virtually) in 2021!
While 2020 has presented many significant challenges, we continually adapt the meet the needs of our members and communities – and, our high-quality networking opportunities are not exempt! We are proud to say SMART’s regional programming is no longer restricted by geographic location, as we will gather together digitally later this month.
We don’t know about you, but to all of us at SMART, the summer sure flew by! With that comes the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year; by now it’s no surprise that education may look a little different in your community. Due to COVID-19, many of us are experiencing a lot of ‘firsts’ – including the added responsibility (or pleasure, depending how you look at it) of educating our youngsters at home through e-learning.
If you are like all of us here at SMART, the past few months have been tough. It feels like in the blink of an eye, life as we knew it turned on a dime – both personally and professionally. By now it is no secret that all industries have been significantly affected by the Global Health Emergency (GHE) – and those in our space of textile reuse and recycling are not exempt.
Did you know that March 18 is celebrated annually as Global Recycling Day? Started just a few years ago by the Global Recycling Foundation, Global Recycling Day is designed to promote the role recycling plays in preserving the earth’s primary resources – water, air, coal, oil, natural gas and minerals. This year’s theme is “Recycling Heroes” – a salute to unsung recycling heroes across the globe including people, groups, organizations and businesses who champion recycling practices and habits.
For many of us, a new year marks the creation of new goals to achieve in the months to come. Whether personal or professional, our resolutions often center around improving our lives. But what if we told you that your 2020 resolutions could also improve our environment?
It’s one of our favorite times of year at SMART! Why? Because, like millions of others, we love joining in the Halloween festivities! In fact, did you know an estimated 173 million people plan to celebrate in some way this year, according to the National Retail Federation? Of those 173 million people:
• 69% will hand out candy;
• 49% will decorate their home;
• 44% will carve a pumpkin;
• 32% will throw/attend a party;
• 22% will visit a haunted house.
The 2019/2020 school year is upon us! At SMART, we have such an appreciation for teachers across the globe who take on the task of educating our young people. From reading and math to science and social studies, the school year is full of so many fun and interesting topics that are important for kiddos to learn about.
Summer is officially upon us and we don’t know about you, but we’re ready for a trip to the beach! This time of year it’s easy to get distracted by all of the new bathing suit styles, prints, beach gear and more. But what if we told you that you can get ready for the beach by “upcycling” items already laying around your house? It may be hard to believe, but trust us – you’ll be headed to the beach in style with these simple, fun and environmentally-friendly DIYs:
Summer is almost here, and retail sales are around every corner. While it’s easy to get lured into the world of fast fashion, consider the real cost of that clearance shirt.
Many people know Marie Kondo from her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but just a few weeks ago she launched her new show, Tidying Up which has taken many by storm. If you’re not familiar, I recommend you check it out on Netflix! Households – large, small and in between have been working to clean out their homes, abiding by Kondo’s method of tidying by categories: clothing, books, paper, komono (kitchen, bathroom, garage and miscellaneous) and finally, sentimental items.
November is a time of giving thanks and being grateful for everything we’ve been afforded in life. When I think about this quote from Mr. Stone, I think about the work of our members, for-profit companies who collect and reuse, recycle or repurpose textiles (any materials made out of interlacing fibers), and the work of everyday people who are committed to reducing our globe’s textile waste consumption habits.
Boo! It’s the time of year where we can step out of our comfort zones and transform ourselves into something we’re not or have always wanted to be – at least for a day. From dressing up as our favorite pop-culture icons to ghoulish ghosts and characters from our favorite novels and movies, Halloween is a fabulous time to celebrate our creativity but, perhaps more importantly, how we choose to think about our textile consumption habits.
Did you know that September 15 is recognized as World Clean Up Day? While this global day of action is largely focused on ridding our planet of trash by cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from our beaches, rivers, forests and streets, SMART also encourages you and your family to be mindful of your household textiles – any goods made of interlacing fibers
Over the past few months we’ve been discussing how consumers can make textile-friendly decisions to make a difference for our environment. But, with the 2018-2019 school year right around the corner, there’s an opportunity for schools to make a difference, too! While many school systems already teach their students about the importance of recycling aluminum, glass and paper goods, it’s also imperative to teach them about the importance of recycling textiles.
Right now, everyone’s mind is set on summer fun – from family vacations and barbecues in the backyard, to boating and laying out by the pool, I hope you have had the opportunity to take a step back from work and enjoy all the season has to offer! While it’s a time of well-deserved bliss for many, it’s also a time to start preparing for the upcoming school year and all that is necessary to set your child or grandchild up for success.
It’s that time of year again! The weather is warming up, and it’s time for summer fun. At the beach, that is! One of my favorite things to do over the summer months is to wake up early, pack the cooler and head out for a day of boating on the river and then over to our favorite beach for a relaxing, fun-filled day with my family and friends.
There are many wonderful colleges and universities in close locale to SMART’s headquarters here in Maryland. And, with many colleges and universities, come many dorm rooms and apartments. As the 2018 graduates prepare for their next steps – moving back home with mom and dad or forging a path of their own – I think about all the textiles (any material made of interlacing fibers) – that are left behind or improperly disposed of.
Did you know the average U.S. citizen throws away 81 pounds of clothing each year? Out of this waste, 95 percent could have been recycled, yet only 15 percent actually gets donated or recycled.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I am reflecting on the passion for our planet I witness on a daily basis from SMART’s members and Board of Directors. When it comes to textile reuse and recycling, it takes more than a village – it necessitates a collective international effort, and I am proud to witness the positive impact being made by SMART members on the textile reuse and recycling industry.
‘Tis the season for fun with family and friends, but also for STUFF. As I witness (and participate!) in the holiday shopping hustle, I am reminded of wise words from Henry David Thoreau. He said, “What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
Thoreau’s insight rings particularly true as we often replace items at home this time of year. From kids wanting the next trend in toys to creating a warm and welcoming ambience for holiday guests, there are so many opportunities to recycle our old textiles!
SMART is thankful for all of the hard work members contribute to the textile recycling industry! SMART members keep approximately 1 billion pounds of textiles out of landfills each year through their collaborative efforts.
You may have heard of SMART’s work to promote textile recycling, but did you know we are an international trade association? Your company can join our diverse membership – our companies are located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Pacific Rim countries who are involved in every phase of our industry.
In the 46 years since the first Earth Day, Americans have accepted paper, plastic, aluminum and glass as every day recyclables—yet, the second largest recyclable is still underutilized: textiles.
For hundreds of years, people have celebrated February 14th in the name of love by sending cards, chocolates, flowers and more. Each year, Americans spend more and more on elaborate gifts, which hurts not only our wallets, but our environment too.