Company collects clothes for reuse | Los Altos Town Crier

Wed September 15, 2010

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Company collects clothes for reuse 

Written by Jana Seshadri - Town Crier Staff Writer
Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Mountain View Drop Box

Natkarn Shugan, director of Wonder World Preschool in Mountain View, opens the lid of a USAgain bin placed behind the school to collect used clothing and shoes.


The green movement is evolving to include clothing as a recycling item, and one company has launched its service in the Mountain View area, enabling local residents to participate.

In an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle wearable clothes, USAgain, pronounced "Use Again," has placed bins around Mountain View to collect used clothing, shoes and linens.

"I saw this as a need and an opportunity while traveling," said Janice Bostic, company founder and president.

USAgain's green and white bins, placed in convenient locations for an indefinite time period, serve as eco-friendly receptacles for gently used clothes and shoes.

One such location is Wonder World Preschool at 2015 Latham St.

"We have flyers out and parents are asking questions and seem interested," said Natkarn Shugan, director of the preschool.

People can discard used clothes, shoes and other textiles that would otherwise go to waste and end up in landfills, Bostic said.

Always a thrifty and frugal person, Bostic said that while growing up and during college, she frequently shopped in discount stores that sold secondhand goods. But it was during her travels around the globe that she witnessed dire poverty and saw the need for clothing in developing countries.

"Why can't clothing be a recycled commodity?" Bostic asked. "I felt that somebody, somewhere could use the clothing we collect."

After starting the company in Seattle more than 10 years ago, Bostic and her husband grew their operations gradually and are currently working with cities in 11 states.

USAgain placed 100 collection bins in cities across the Bay Area this month, including Mountain View. See below for a list of bin locations in Mountain View.

Local crews collect, sift through and bundle the items weekly. USAgain resells them in the U.S. and abroad at affordable prices to thrift-store chains, wholesalers, graders and recyclers. By diverting millions of pounds of clothing from landfills and shipping it abroad, the company creates local jobs and economies in developing countries, Bostic said.

According to its Web site, USAgain diverted 54 million pounds of used clothes last year. The diversion rate is calculated as the percentage of waste materials diverted from traditional disposal, such as in landfills, for recycling, composting or reuse.

"Many cities have zero-waste goals, and we want to help out," Bostic said.

By making it convenient and practical for people to recycle their used clothing, Bostic said she hopes it will become "a habit and a regular commitment."

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