Across the United States and Canada, textiles is one of the most common materials to end up in landfills.
“Utah-based PromoLeaf LLC says its analysis of data on recycling facilities and programs shows fewer than 6 percent of large cities in the United States accept discarded textiles in curbside recycling bins.
The firm’s analysis says only eight out of 151 cities offer regular curbside collections of clothes and textiles. PromoLeaf gathered information from the three largest cities in each state plus the District of Columbia.”
Businesses that deal with textiles are under pressure to recycle their materials, especially since the push for sustainability is affecting consumer shopping decisions. Are you a business that relies heavily on textiles? If so, you may want to read further on how textile recycling works, how you can use it to your advantage, and why it’s important to implement.
The process of recycling textiles is generally straightforward.
First, the material is collected from multiple sources. This includes drop-off points, dedicated recycling centers, and curbside pickups. Once collected, they are then transported to a sorting facility where the textiles are sorted according to their material, composition, texture, condition, and more. Once the material has been sorted, they are sent to be cleaned and prepped for recycling. This process ensures that odours, stains, and dirt are all removed prior to recycling.
Textiles that have been cleaned will be sold at consignment shops, second hand stores, and online. Sometimes they are also exported to countries with high demand for used textiles. Any unused textiles are processed for recycling and manufactured into new products. Many industries use recycled textiles to create a variety of products. This includes insulation, furniture, industrial materials, and more.
Benefits of Textile Recycling
Sustainability has become increasingly important to the average consumer. Products, services, and companies that do not have some form of sustainability efforts are often overlooked for alternatives. The primary benefit of using textile recycling is to improve your brand reputation and show that you are taking meaningful initiatives.
By implementing textile recycling to your business, you can also set up incentive programs to help drive awareness and brand-appeal. For example, companies like H&M offer programs where customers can bring clothing to any in-store recycling bin and receive coupons on their next purchase. This kind of program can be wildly beneficial to you, especially if your business is a part of the clothing industry. Your business can also save money on waste management by taking advantage of any government run incentives for recycling programs.
The Global Importance of Textile Recycling
Textile waste has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. The United States alone has increased it’s textile waste production by 80%. The University of Waterloo states that Canada has dumped up to 500M kilograms of textile waste year after year. This amount of waste production contributes to climate change and increased stress on waste management systems. Textile waste is now considered one of the largest and fastest growing waste streams in North America.
By incentivizing and creating textile recycling programs, your business can join many others in the effort to minimize environmental harm. Meeting these expectations for green initiatives will attract more customers as sustainability becomes a standard expectation. As many large companies continue to offer textile recycling options to their customers, you don’t want to be left behind.