S.M.A.R.T. Releases Clothing Collection Bin Draft Ordinance and Position Paper

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Trade association sets industry standard for clothing collection bins.

Lou Buty, President, Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association

The restrictions local governments are making on clothing collection bins increases the likelihood clothing and other household textiles will go into local landfills.

The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) sets the industry standard for the clothing collection bin industry with the release of draft legislation language, a position paper on the issue, and a Code of Conduct for its member companies. As the trade association of for-profit companies in the clothing and textile recycling industry, SMART is striving to increase the public’s awareness of how their unwanted clothing and household textiles are processed when being placed in clothing collection bins across the nation. The Association calls for all companies in the clothing collection bin industry to be 100% transparent regarding their business practices.

“We are seeing local governments restricting the ability of for-profit clothing recycling companies to place clothing collection bins in their communities,” says Lou Buty, President of SMART. “These restrictions increase the likelihood clothing and other household textiles which could have been re-used or recycled will instead go into local landfills or incinerators.”

According to Buty, the Environmental Protection Agency* and local state studies show 5-to-7% of the materials in local landfills are clothing or textiles. “Local municipalities need to recognize the impact these materials have on the life of their landfills and the economic impact the unnecessary discarding of these materials will have on their communities as their landfills become filled,” says Buty. * Source: EPA Municipal Waste Study 2010

To help state and local governments manage clothing collection bins locally, SMART’s Board of Directors has approved draft language for local legislation regarding clothing collection bins. “The Association is frequently approached by officials seeking language for clothing collection bin regulations. While every city has different methods for regulating local businesses, which makes it difficult to craft a one‐size‐fits‐all approach, SMART has identified a number of key recommendations to achieve effective and community-sensitive ordinances,” says Jackie King, SMART Executive Director.

King continues, “For‐profit textile recyclers routinely partner with local charities. These partnerships allow the charities to share in the profit from the proceeds of the collection of unwanted clothing, shoes, textiles and other household items in communities. As a number of charities have stated on the record, these arrangements provide essential, risk‐free funding that is difficult to secure through other sources.”

In addition to the draft ordinance language, SMART has established a Code of Conduct for clothing collection bins. The Code requires companies to be transparent about their business model by clearly informing the public they are a for-profit company. Contact information for the clothing collection bin operator is also required, along with information regarding any charitable partners if applicable. The Code of Conduct also requires the collection bin operators to comply with all local zoning laws and to have permission before placing a clothing collection bin. All collection bin must also be routinely maintained and the company must respond to all complaint calls in a timely manner.

“We encourage the public to remember SMART’s message to ‘Donate, Recycle, Don’t Throw Away.’ Everyone using a clothing collection bin should be fully informed as to where their clothing is going,” says King. “If the labeling is unclear or confusing they should find a clothing collection bin which meets the standards of SMART’s Code of Conduct for messaging and transparency.”

SMART companies are able to process 95% of all clothing and household textiles they handle to keep them out of the waste stream. The materials may be reused as articles of clothing, they may be cut into wiping cloths, or they may be processed down to their basic fibers that are then used to manufacture new products. King says as long as the items have been laundered and are dry, even if they are ripped or stained, they should be recycled, not placed in the trash.
For more information about the clothing and textile recycling industry, visit the SMART Association website at http://www.SMARTasn.org. The website includes a tool the public can use to find the nearest clothing and textile recycling location. For additional information, contact Paul Bailey at the Fallston Group at 410-420-2001 or by email at paul(dot)bailey(at)fallstongroup(dot)com.

Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART) is an international nonprofit trade association that strengthens the economic opportunities of its diverse membership by promoting the interdependence of our industry segments and providing a common forum for networking, education and trade. Since 1932, SMART has been at the forefront of recycling. SMART members use and convert recycled and secondary materials from used clothing, commercial laundries and non-woven, off spec material, new mill ends and paper from around the world. SMART member companies create thousands of jobs worldwide. SMART members prove each day that you can make money by being socially responsible.

For additional information on SMART, visit the association’s website at http://www.SMARTasn.org. The following link will take you directly to informational videos on textile recycling

http://www.smartasn.org/about/videos.cfm. To download the iRecycle app visit http://www.Earth911.com. The app allows users to find clothing and textile recycling drop-off locations in their area.

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Paul Bailey
Fallston Group, LLC
(410) 420-2001
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