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    Used Clothing Is Not Garbage

    Once your most worn-in jeans have reached their end, where do they go? If the trash can is your answer, you can easily salvage the resources invested in your denim by recycling it.

    It is estimated that Americans send about 24 billion pounds of unwanted clothing, shoes, and other textiles to landfills each year – over 70 pounds each! This is “simply a staggering amount of waste, considering that an estimated 95% of those textiles could be recycled” according to the Secondary Material and Recycled Textiles (SMART) organization.

    Tweet: 95% of clothing we no longer want is recyclable - how to do it! http://ctt.ec/E85Ip+

    We’ve finally become accustomed to recycling paper, glass, and aluminum … now clothes? Fear not, Levis, H&M, Eileen Fisher, and Reformation are among some of the major brands that are encouraging customers to bring in long-loved and no-longer-loved items to their retail locations for recycling and reuse. They’ll take any clothing you’re ready to part with – not just their own brands. Goodwill will make good use of your cast-offs as well. Other recycling collection points are being added all the time; for example, in New York City, many GreenMarkets have used clothing collection boxes for reuse and recycling.

    H&M is making an even greater commitment to recycling by offering $1 milllion for better recycling techniques that maintain the length and quality of textile fibers. According to the Guardian, “existing cotton recycling methods make poor-quality fibers, and there is no efficient way to recycle garments of mixed materials.” Other companies are working on this challenge as well – “technology is being developed for separating and extracting fibers in mixed-material garments” by the French company Kering (owner of the Puma brand).

    Goodwill in San Francisco has launched a new technology to sort donated clothes called the goBin. The goBin allows users to scan items and receive a receipt and donate at convienant places such as apartments and condo buildings.

    And remember, your clothing donations can be rewarded with a tax deduction!

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