"Green" Dresses May Dominate Prom Season

Fri April 5, 2013

Read the original story from CPS.edu here.

This Saturday, more than 1,500 prom dresses will be on display at the Malcolm X College Sports Complex, and Chicago students can take one home for the price of an old shirt.


Known as “Prom Goes Green”, this inaugural dress giveaway is the project of USAgain – a textile recycling company that strives to keep unwanted clothing and shoes out of landfills and have those items reused or recycled.


“Hundreds of thousands of new dresses are purchased each year for high school homecomings and proms,” said Rasham Grewal, Marketing and Public Relations Director for USAgain. “These dresses either get thrown away or left in the back of closets, never to be worn again. So we decided, why not try and recycle them.”


Based in West Chicago, USAgain has more than 10,000 recycling bins in 18 states. In 2012, they diverted nearly 58 million pounds of unwanted clothing and shoes that would otherwise have been buried in landfills.


“Our goal is to raise awareness for textile recycling throughout the country,” said Rasham Grewal. “The EPA estimates that 85 percent of all unwanted clothing ends up in the trash. That’s 11.2 million tons per year, which is a staggering number that should make us all think about our options when disposing of clothing.”


Saturday’s Prom Goes Green event is one of many no-cost, no-work “greenraisers” that USAgain has hosted to further their mission. In addition to the environmental benefits, the dress giveaway will help out Chicago students who lack the funds to buy formal attire for their proms.


“When you think about high school, you think prom,” said Gyata Kimmons of Sarafin & Associates, the public relations firm that represents USAgain. “Lots of students want to have the prom experience but don’t have the resources to get them there. So we thought, let’s help those kids out and recycle dresses at the same time.”


The gently-used prom dresses are available in a variety of colors, sizes and styles, and will be given away on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students interested in getting a dress must bring a valid Student I.D. and an old shirt to be recycled. For more information on the Prom Goes Green event, click here.