Non-profits and Charitable Organizations Partner with Private Businesses to Manage Donated Clothing and Textiles

The Re-Clothe NY Coalition, a collaborative group of recyclers, non-profits, and governments working to increaase textiles reuse and recycling across New York State, is launching a second statewide textile recovery campaign on September 15, 2016. On average, Americans place 70 pounds of used clothing and other textile products into the trash. Of these items, the New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3), the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), and the Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) estimate that 95% could be reused or recycled.

Major charitable organizations typically sell 20% to 30% of the clothing donations they receive in their retail outlets. Smaller local charities often sell a higher percentage locally, but both major and local charities have clothing and textiles they cannot sell. That’s when these charitable and not-for-profit organizations partner with the for-profit used clothing industry. For-profit recyclers purchase in bulk the clothing and textiles charities are unable to sell, providing an additional revenue stream that supports the charity’s mission.

Eventually, the for-profit companies will sort the items and guide them to the appropriate reuse/recycling stream. SMART estimates approximately 40% of the items will be reused for their original purpose. Often the company ships used clothing to markets in Africa, Europe, Central and Sout

h America, and Asia. Approximately 30% of the textiles will be cut into industrial wiping and polishing cloths, and 25% will be shipped to mills where the textiles are reduced to fiber. The newly reclaimed fiber is then used to manufacture new products such as home insulation, carpet padding, car sound-proofing, or stuffing for pet beds.

New Yorkers, remember: recycle ALL your clothing and textiles. Don’t throw them away!

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