Eco-Erek and USAgain Keep 2,916 Pairs of Shoes Out of Landfills

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Eco-Erek Donates Shoe Drive Proceeds to Project Kaisei

USAgain, a leader in the textile recycling industry, is proud to announce that 11-year-old Erek Hanson, who goes by ‘Eco-Erek’ has collected 2,916 pairs of used shoes in his 2011 drive in partnership with USAgain.

Inspired by an article in National Geographic Kids, Eco-Erek, who lives in Ohio, began collecting denim for recycling in 2009. He has collected nearly 10,000 pairs of used jeans and other denim pieces to date. This year, Eco-Erek partnered with USAgain to expand his recycling mission and began collecting shoes in addition to denim.

USAgain compensated Eco-Erek for every pound of shoes he collected. Additionally USAgain donated $5 for every $1 Erek raised from the shoes through his collection program. The total funds, $685, will be donated by USAgain to a cause selected by Erek, Project Kaisei, a non-profit organization focused on increasing awareness of the scale of marine debris, its impact on the environment, and the solutions for prevention and clean-up.

“Erek is such an inspiration,” said Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain. “His commitment to the environment is an example and an inspiration to us all. According to the EPA, 85% of discarded textiles end up in landfills. Erek’s effort to divert these completely reusable and recyclable items from being trashed is commendable.”

Eco-Erek collects denim and shoes through drives that he holds across the state of Ohio. All the denim he collects is donated to Cotton. From Blue to Green ® and manufactured into housing insulation that goes to communities that have been struck by natural disasters. Last month Eco-Erek received the Environmental Achievement Award from the Ohio Environmental Council at their annual Green Gala.

About USAgain
USAgain, a leader in the textile recycling industry, with corporate headquarters in Chicago, is a for-profit company that recycles and resells unwanted clothing and other textiles. In 2010 alone, the company collected 56 million pounds of discarded clothing. USAgain operates over 10,000 collection bins in fifteen states. Their mission is to provide consumers with a convenient and eco-friendly option to rid themselves of excess clothing, which are then diverted from landfills. For more information, visit

About Eco-Erek
“Eco” Erek Hansen is an eleven year old recycling advocate. He loves to find new ways to keep useful items out of the landfill. An article he read in 2009 sparked his interest in recycling denim jeans and has led to collecting nearly 10,000 items of denim that have been kept out of the landfill. This translates into enough denim to insulate nearly 20 homes with UltraTouchTM Denim insulation. In 2011, he added shoes to his recycling mission and kept 3,000 pairs of shoes out of the landfill. By holding recycling drives, he hopes to spread awareness of the ability to recycle items that may otherwise just get thrown away. To follow Erek and his mission, visit

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Jen Hirsch
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