smartthread blog

Embrace Textile Recycling in 2020

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?

That’s right! In the new year (and decade) we encourage you to embrace textile reuse and recycling and start implementing it in your daily life. Why is it important? According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), textiles (any item made of interwoven fabric) make up 6.3% of the waste stream or the equivalent of 81 pounds per person thrown away annually. The problem? Nearly 95% of used clothing and textiles can be reused and recycled, but only 15% actually are.

When textiles are simply tossed in the trash and not reused or recycled, they negatively impact our environment by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and increasing our need for landfill space. The production of new textiles also subjects out environment to tons of harsh chemicals, waste products and wastewater.

As we step into the new year, you can make a significant environmental impact by:

  • Recycling your old clothes, shoes, bedding, curtains and more. As long as they are clean, dry and odor free, these items can be reused and recycled! Learn about where to recycle here.
  • Shopping secondhand. Many of the stores you shop from, such as H&M and Zara, sell items that are considered fast fashion. The clothes and shoes are affordable, but they are of low quality, so they tend to be disposed of quickly. But, by shopping secondhand at charities like Good Will and Salvation Army, or thrift stores like Savers, you’re diverting textiles from landfills.

As you can see, at SMART, we’re all about improving our environment – one textile at a time! We invite you to learn more about our association and the work of our members here. You can also visit us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates and information pertinent to the textile reuse and recycling industry.