SMART Supports Launch of New York Textile Recycling Program

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Increasing amount of clothing and textile recycling is the goal of the “Clothes the Loop” campaign.

Jackie King, SMART Executive Director

On America Recycles Day it is especially important to educate people that clothing and other household textiles are highly recyclable.

“Clothes the Loop” is the theme of the first-ever statewide campaign to promote clothing and textile recycling. The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) joins The New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3) and the Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) in announcing the launch of “Clothes the Loop NY” on America Recycles Day, Saturday, November 15th. Throughout New York, municipalities are initiating an outreach campaign that encourages New York State residents to “Clothes the Loop” by recycling their unwanted clothing and household textiles, and not put them into the trash.

“By engaging local municipalities to promote clothing and textile recycling, NYSAR3 is making a great step forward in educating the public about the importance of keeping used clothing out of landfills,” says Jackie King, Executive Director of SMART. “On America Recycles Day it is especially important to educate people that clothing and other household textiles are highly recyclable. 95% of all clothing, even items that are stained, torn, are out-of-date, or seem to be worn out, can be recycled.”

SMART is the international trade association of the for-profit textile and used clothing recycling industry, while the Council for Textile Recycling works to bring together all aspects of clothing recycling including manufacturers, retailers, consumers, academicians, and municipal employees.

According to NYSAR3, each year, New York State residents dispose of some 1.4 billion pounds of recoverable clothes and textiles, with an estimated market value over $200 million. NYSAR3 estimates that some 9,600 jobs would be created across the state if that material was dropped off for reuse and recycling. Across the country, only 15% of recyclable clothes and textiles are actually recovered; 85% ends up in the trash.

“As part of this statewide campaign, communities across New York are launching special events and programs to urge residents to stop putting clothing and other textiles into the waste stream and start sending all unwanted clothing and other textiles into the reuse/recycling stream. Residents can do that by dropping off all textile products at a charitable organization, or by using clothing collection bins—they should NOT be placed in curbside recycling containers,” says David Lupinski, President of NYSAR3.

“Both non-profit charities and for-profit recyclers often work in conjunction to keep this valuable resource out of the waste stream.” Lupinski added that “More recycling means more jobs. In this case, we could create more than 9,000 new jobs across the state in the not-for-profit and private sectors through the recovery of clothing and textiles that are currently trashed.

SMART estimates the average person throws away 70-pounds of used clothing annually; of those 70-pounds, 95% could have been reused or recycled. Industry officials say only clothing that is wet (mildewed) or has been contaminated with a solvent such as gasoline, paint, or odorous cleaner cannot be recycled.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report on municipal solid waste (2012), 14.33 million tons of waste is generated annual that is exclusively clothing and other household textiles. Of that amount, only 15.7% or 2.25 million tons is recycled.1

In the same study, the EPA calculated the impact the current level of recycling has on reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the United States. The EPA report indicates the 2.25 million tons of textiles are currently recycled annually; is the equivalent of removing 1.2 million cars from America’s highways. This is more than 5-times the impact of recycled yard trimmings (170 thousand cars removed); is more than 4-times the impact of glass recycling (210 thousand cars removed); more than plastic recycling (670 thousand cars removed); and is nearly equal to the impact of aluminum recycling (1.3 million cars removed).2

To find textile drop off locations, New York state residents should visit, or check with their local solid waste authority. Or follow #CloththeLoopNY on Facebook and Twitter.

1 Table 1, Page 7. Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2011.
2 Table 5, Page 12. Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2011.

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 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax exempt organization incorporated in the State of Maryland. The CTR is not involved in the collection of textile waste in any form and is entirely devoted to creating more awareness about keeping post-consumer textile waste out of our solid waste stream. Our non-profit headquarters are located at 3465 Box Hill Corporate Center Drive, Suite H, Abingdon, Maryland 21009. Phone: 443-640-1050.

The New York State Association Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) is New York State’s largest recycling association, representing professionals from the public, not-for-profit, and private sectors. Each day, these individuals provide statewide leadership on waste reduction, reuse and recycling issues and advance practices to improve the environment, generate jobs, and create a more sustainable future.


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Paul Bailey
Fallston Group, LLC
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