New York has kicked off a new campaign to bolster clothing and textile recycling statewide. Called “Clothes the Loop,” the initiative is the brainchild of the New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) and the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART). Together, the organizations have created a program that will help to divert 1.4 billion pounds of recoverable clothes and textiles from state landfills.
Each year, New Yorkers throw an estimated $200 million worth of clothing, sheets, towels and curtains into the garbage. Most of these textiles are recyclable or recoverable, and can be reused. The “Clothes the Loop” campaign asks New Yorkers to reconsider their used clothing, and to take their unwanted textiles to special drop-off locations.
SMART estimates that the average New York resident throws away 70 pounds of used clothing each year. The hope is that with the “Clothes the Loop” campaign, 40 percent of this clothing can be reused by charitable organizations as secondhand clothing, 30 percent can be made into industrial wiping and polishing cloths and 25 percent can be sent to recycling mills and reduced to fiber. The other five percent is likely contaminated with mildew, mold or substances like oil or solvents, and may need to be thrown out.
In addition to diverting textiles from landfills, the initiative estimates it can create 9,600 jobs across New York State, as well as reduce greenhouse gasses across the board.