First-ever Joint Meeting on International Used Clothing Industry Held in Miami

Share Article

Cotton Inc’s Blue Jeans Go Green Program© Recognized for Leadership and Innovation

Marissa Barlin, Cotton Inc., receives Leadership in Sustainable Apparel Award from Eric Stubin, Chairman of the Council for Textile Recycling

Three leading international recycling organizations gathered in Miami, Florida for the first-ever international conference on the used clothing recycling industry. Nearly 100 members of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), the Bureau of International Recycling’s Textiles Division (BIR), and the Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) held the first International Textile Recycling Summit (ITRS) at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach. Conference attendees were there to discuss industry trends, concerns, and emerging markets.

The three organizations represent for-profit textile recycling companies, non-profit organizations involved in textile recycling, apparel manufacturers, representatives from academia, and governmental agencies, all of which are focused on recycling, especially used clothing and textiles.

In addition to the conference seminars and panel discussions the organizations presented the Leadership in Sustainable Apparel - Recycling Innovator Award to Cotton Inc. for their Blue Jeans Go Green© program. Blue Jeans Go Green© Co-director of Strategic Alliances, Marissa Barlin was on-hand to accept the award.

“Blue Jeans Go Green and Cotton Inc. are honored to be the first recipients of this award,” said Barlin. “Since the program began in 2006 the denim collected has not only been used by builders and home-owners, we have also been able to provide grants of the insulation to civic institutions and to Habitat for Humanity programs throughout the U.S.”

Since its inception, Blue Jeans Go Green© has diverted more than 600 tons of denim out of landfills. To date, more than 2-million square feet of Ultratouch© denim home insulation has been generated from the denim recovered by the Blue Jeans go Green© program. Ultratouch© home insulation is manufactured by SMART member-company Bonded Logic of Chandler, AZ.

Barlin says denim of any color, and in any condition, can be converted into home insulation. For information on recycling unwanted denim products go to

Panel discussions held during ITRS included discussions of the global sustainability of the clothing industry and reuse and recycling as seen from the perspective of clothing manufacturers and retailers. Other panel discussions focused on the challenges of the core industry of used clothing collection, reclaimed wipers and fiber conversion and global trends, and innovations in the used clothing/textile recycling industry.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report on municipal solid waste, 20.44 billion pounds of clothing and footwear was discarded in 2012. An additional 2.58 billion pounds of towels, sheets and pillowcases were also thrown away. The 2012 EPA report indicates only 14.4% of clothing and footwear products were recovered (recycled) and only 17.8% of towels, sheets and pillowcases were recovered.1 Of the clothing, footwear, towels, sheets, and pillowcases that were thrown away, SMART estimates 95% of those items could have been reused or recycled.2

1: Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Tables and Figures for 2012. Tables 15 and 16,

2: Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association Media Kit:

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.

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 The following link will take you directly to informational videos on textile recycling

The Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) is the United States leading 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness about the importance of textile recycling and the need to reduce the amount of used clothing and other post-consumer textile waste (PCTW ) being sent to our nation's landfills. The Council's Board of Directors reflects a broad base of stakeholders with representatives from charities, private sector recyclers, brands and retailers. Other stakeholders include consumers, academics, and government and nonprofit recycling groups, and more. The Council's goal is to achieve zero textile waste going to landfills by 2037.

For additional information on CTR, visit the association’s website at

Founded in 1948, Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) was the first federation to support the interests of the recycling industry on an international scale. Today, BIR represents over 850 member companies from the private sector and 40 national associations in more than 70 countries. Together, these members form the largest international recycling federation. The federation provides a dynamic forum for its members to share their knowledge and experience. It serves as a platform to establish successful business relations and to promote recycling among other industrial sectors and policy makers.

BIR is a non-profit organization under Belgian law. Their statutes (Articles of Association) and Internal Regulations were revised and approved in October 2010.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Paul Bailey
Fallston Group, LLC
+1 (410) 952-3860
Email >