Wearable Collections, a non-profit charity initiative, is leading the crusade to reduce textile waste in a city traditionally known for disposable, seasonal styles. The organization is placing recycling bins in designated buildings throughout New York City for the collection of unwanted garments and clothing. With Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week having just come and gone here in NYC, we wanted to take a closer look at how one non-profit is aiding New Yorkers to have a cleaner, greener closet while helping others along the way.
According to the statistics presented on Wearable Collection‘s website, 386 million pounds of textiles enter the NYC waste stream annually, representing close to 6% of total waste. The Council for Textile Recycling also reports that the clothing recycling industry prevents 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile waste from entering our landfills and waste stream each year. On a national basis this industry recycles approximately 10 pounds per capita or 1,250,000 tons of post-consumer textile waste annually. However, these 10 pounds represent less than 25 percent of the total post-consumer textile waste that is generated.
Effective recycling is an ongoing exercise in identifying hands-on and practical ways to make a difference in our communities. With this in mind, it is essential to find ways to encourage the general population to systematically recycle their unwanted clothes. Wearable Collections achieves this by having building residents register for textile recycling bins that are picked up once a week. These clothes are then distributed in a not-for-profit manner to charities worldwide. (There have been recent reports of charities distributing second hand clothes to South America, Africa, and Asia with middleman profit, but this is not the case here.)
We think that Wearable Collections is an excellent way for household members to carefully consider all of the disposables in their homes and not just the materials that we know to be conventional garbage. Many a landfill is lined with last season’s trends!