Re-Clothe NY Coalition Renews Outreach Campaign to Increase Textiles Reuse and Recycling in New York State

Recyclers, governments, and non-profits collaborate to reduce environmental impacts of textile waste

New York – Today, the Re-Clothe NY Coalition, a collaborative group of recyclers, non-profits, and governments working to increase textiles reuse and recycling across New York State, announced a renewed outreach campaign to encourage residents to donate and recycle their unwanted clothing and household textiles, rather than put them in the trash. This year’s campaign dovetails with the adoption of landmark standards for coalition membership that establish common messaging and ensure transparency, data sharing, and the highest, best possible use of donated textiles. These standards, which were facilitated by the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), serve as the basis for this year’s outreach campaign and strengthen the Coalition, one of the first public – private partnerships of its kind and size in the U.S.

“New York State residents trash an estimated 1.4 billion pounds of recoverable clothing and textiles annually, with a market value exceeding $130 million,” said Andrew Radin, chair of the New York Product Stewardship Council (NYPSC) and recycling coordinator from Onondaga County, NY. “The economic benefits of textile recycling don’t end there: over 1,000 new jobs could be created statewide if that material was donated for reuse and recycling.”

“Today, 85 percent of unwanted clothing is disposed as trash – recycling these textiles would have a greenhouse gas reduction impact equivalent to removing one million cars from America’s roads,” said Eric Stubin, president and chief executive officer of Trans-Americas Textile Recycling, Inc. “Our company is proud to partner with this collaborative group of other textile recyclers, governments, and non-profits to increase textile recycling statewide.”

Textile collection bins accept all household textiles – including clothing, shoes, towels, sheets, hats, pet clothes, and other items – as long as they are clean, dry, and odorless. Worn, torn, ripped, or stained items are accepted; even textiles that are no longer wearable can be donated for reuse and recycling.

“Approximately 40 percent of donated clothing is reused for its original purpose, helping those in need by offering them free and low-cost clothes, shoes, and linens,” explained Dan Lilkas-Rain, chair of the Re-Clothe NY Campaign for the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3) and recycling coordinator for the Town of Bethlehem, NY. “An additional 30 percent of recycled and donated textiles are cut into industrial wiping and polishing cloths, and the remaining 25 percent are shipped to mills where the textiles are converted to fiber.”

In 2014, NYSAR3, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, and the Council for Textile Recycling partnered to launch a statewide textile recovery campaign, eventually named “Re-Clothe NY,” the most extensive effort at that time to increase textile recovery nationwide. The 2016 campaign builds on this success.

This year, NYPSC and PSI created new and updated outreach materials to make it easy for local governments, organizations, associations, and community advocates to help the Re-Clothe NY Coalition spread the word about the benefits of textile recycling. The Outreach Toolkit and Media Toolkit include sample social media posts, fact sheets, posters, and media alerts, making promoting textile recycling as easy as copy-and-paste for New York agencies, organizations, and community advocates.

“This textilesreuse and recycling campaign has been a unique team effort among public agencies and collectors and processors from the non-profit and private sectors,” said Scott Cassel, chief executive officer and founder of PSI. “The outreach campaign has the potential to help save New York municipalities $36 million each year in avoided disposal costs while returning valuable recovered materials back into the circular economy to create quality recycling jobs.”

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I), which is funded through a grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, provided the grant to support this campaign. “New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is pleased to support the Coalition as they address a significant environmental challenge here in New York,” said NYSP2I Director Charles Ruffing. “The textile recovery campaign will educate consumers across the state, create economic opportunity, and improve the environment.”

Visit the Re-Clothe NY website for a list of acceptable materials, collection bin locations, the Outreach and Media Toolkits, and other information on textile recycling in New York.

New York State residents trash an estimated 1.4 billion pounds of recoverable clothing and textiles annually, with a market value exceeding $130 million