Thu April 22, 2010
Everyone knows that they can donate used clothing to the Salvation Army, Good Will, local thrift stores and other second-hand clothing retailers-right? Wrong!
According to U'SAgain, a for-profit clothes collection system, when the first Earth Day event was held in April 1970, discarded clothes and shoes accounted for 1.6 million tons of landfill waste in the U.S. Forty years later, the amount of clothing discarded has increased five-fold to more than eight million tons.
Despite the seemingly simple options to donate used clothing, many people are placing articles of clothing in the trash. Today, most municipalities accept glass, metals (aluminum and steel) paper and plastic for recycling. Very few include textile (clothing) recycling.
U'SAgain has a goal to divert five million pounds of clothes and shoes from landfills during the month of April 2010. If everyone looks for the company's red and white collection boxes and "pitches in" that goal can be achieved.
What is the outcome of diverting five million pounds of textile products? According to U'SAgain, it is comparable to the following:
• Offset emissions from 2,900 cars in a full year
• Save enough water to fill 171,000 swimming pools
• Avoid the use of 1 million pounds of pesticides for cotton growth
• Reduce the use of 1.5 millions of fertilizer for cotton growth
There are two of the red and white collection boxes here in Evanston:
1. Sam's Club
2450 Main St.
2. Mobil Gas Station
1950 Green Bay Rd.
On its Web site, U'SAgain makes it clear that it's a green company with a triple bottom line: for people, for planet and for profit. Its mission is to make a positive impact for people and planet by operating a sound and sustainable business, following the highest ethical standards.
For the remainder of April and beyond, partner with U'SAgain to keep clothes and shoes out of landfills. Bring unwanted items to a red and white collection box or other clothing donation option.
Happy 40th Earth Day!
On her blog Mayre has a USAgain slideshow. You can see it here.
Mayre Press is a professional writer with a communications degree from Northwestern University. She lives in Evanston, Ill. and specializes in research and advocacy for environmental issues. Currently, she writes monthly column titled, "Ask Eco Gal," that runs in a biweekly community newspaper. Some locals call her a recycling guru. When she's not sorting paper from plastic, she's researching or writing.