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You Have Clothes, We Have a Bin | Pine Journal

Mon July 25, 2011

Pine Journal

You Have Clothes, We Have a Bin

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans consume a whopping 65 pounds of new clothes per person each year. That’s a huge amount of clothing for each individual, and when the new comes in, the old must go out. Americans create approximately 12.4 million pounds of textile waste each year, which adds up to 177 pounds of waste per household per year. When it gets discarded, about 85 percent of it goes directly into landfills.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans consume a whopping 65 pounds of new clothes per person each year. That’s a huge amount of clothing for each individual, and when the new comes in, the old must go out. Americans create approximately 12.4 million pounds of textile waste each year, which adds up to 177 pounds of waste per household per year. When it gets discarded, about 85 percent of it goes directly into landfills.

That’s a shame, since 100 percent of all textiles and used clothing, no matter how outdated or shoddy, can be reused or recycled in some way. To that end, staffed Carlton County recycling sheds (Barnum, Carlton, Moose Lake, Perch Lake and Esko/Thomson) and the Carlton County Transfer Station will be accepting textiles in partnership with USAgain.

USAgain was founded in 1999 and operates over 9,000 collection bins in 15 states. In 2010 alone, they collected over 56 million pounds of discarded clothing. USAgain collects around one million pounds of clothing per week, which is then purchased by wholesale buyers, thrift store chains and textile recyclers.

The green and white collection bins are located adjacent to the recycling sheds and will accept clothes, shoes and household textiles. Household textiles include cloth tablecloths, towels, bedding, blankets, bedspreads, etc.

“We can’t accept mattresses, furniture, appliances, carpet, household items, toys or trash,” said Heather Cunningham, Carlton County resource and recycling coordinator. “Clothes, shoes and textiles must be clean and dry and dropped off in tied plastic bags.”

Cunningham said a sturdy plastic bag protects the clothes from dirt and simplifies handling.

Don’t leave anything outside the bin. If you have something that will not fit in the bin, contact Cunningham at 218-384-9178 or heather.cunningham@co.carlton.mn.us.