USAgain (pronounced use-again), the West Chicago-based textile recycling company, built a “mountain” of clothing – the equivalent of one full garbage truck or 10,000 pounds of clothing -to demonstrate the impact of clothing that gets discarded in the trash and the need to conserve landfill space. The clothing display was located on the plaza of the James R. Thompson Center, 150 W. Randolph St, in Chicago.
“This “mountain” of clothing illustrates just how much space discarded clothing and shoes take up when we throw them into the trash and it eventually ends up in landfills,” said USAgain CEO Mattias Wallander. “Unfortunately, 12 million tons of textiles get buried in landfills each year.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 85 percent of all of their unwanted clothing and shoes into the trash. While the recycling household items, like paper, bottles and cans, has become second nature to many Americans, many still don’t realize that clothing can be recycled too.
USAgain’s mission is to reduce the negative impacts of clothes and shoes on our environment by increasing their reuse and recycling. USAgain gives a new life to discarded clothing by putting them back in the use stream as second hand clothing. Clothes that are not in condition to be re-worn are shredded to make new material like insulation for homes and car industry or to reclaim fiber to make new fabric.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, USAgain operates more than 14,000 collection bins in 19 states. In 2013 alone, USAgain collected 55 million pounds of clothing, shoes and other textiles that were recycled or re-used.
“In 15 years, USAgain has diverted over six hundred million items of clothing, shoes and textiles from our nation’s landfills, which helps reduce waste, save energy and conserves resources, like water that ultimately protects our planet.”” said Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain. “More and more people are becoming aware of clothing recycling and doing their part as it has become easier and more convenient to recycle. There is always more we can do and America Recycles Day is a great time to start and consider what they can do to make the world a better place.”
America Recycles Day is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Thousands of organizations across the country will hold recycling events to promote recycling. Since its inception in 1997, communities across the country have participated in America Recycles Day to educate, promote environmental citizenship and encourage action.
USAgain also has challenged local schools as part of America Recycles Day. USAgain is hosting a Textile Recycling School Challenge where participating schools compete to collect the most textiles for recycling. The top five collecting schools will win cash prizes and all schools will raise funds for every pound collected.