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Celebrating America Recycles Day with "Smart"er recycling: encouraging the donation and recycling of old textiles

Celebrating America Recycles Day with "Smart"er recycling: encouraging the donation and recycling of old textiles

For this year's 20th National America Recycles Day on November 15, SMART is reminding North Americans not to forget about the importance of reusing and recycling textiles. According to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), a global organization of companies involved in the reuse and recycling of textiles and related secondary materials, almost any textile can be reused and recycled: old clothing, bath towels, bed sheets, stuffed animals, curtains, purses and even bras! 

A national initiative of Keep America Beautiful since 1997, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day and coast-to-coast, community-driven awareness campaign dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. This year, take the national #BeRecycled Pledge and promise to actively choose to live a recycled lifestyle by committing to "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." 

One way to make that choice is by giving your textiles a second life. Nearly 100 percent of donated textiles are reused and recycled into three grades: usable clothing, fiber conversion grade and wiping cloth grade. This means a lost sock can be made into pillow stuffing, ripped denim can transform into household insulation, an old towel can become a wiping rag and your barely-worn prom dress can get a second life with a teen going to her first dance.
Any clothing, household textile or commercial linen textile, as long as it is dry and has no odor, can be reused and recycled. Even if the item is stained, torn, overly worn or out-of-date, do not throw it away; it has a use in the textile recycling industry. Only items that are wet (mildewed) or have been used with a solvent-type liquid such as gasoline or Goof Off) cannot be recycled.

SMART members, including global thrift retailer, Savers, are ambassadors for the reuse and recycle model. 

"My hope is that someday reusing and recycling clothing will be as mainstream as recycling cans and bottles," said Tony Shumpert, vice president of Reuse and Recycling at Savers and SMART's second vice president. "SMART is helping to make this a reality by working across the recycling and textile industries to educate consumers about the importance of rethinking reuse. America Recycles Day is a great opportunity for people to challenge themselves and others to take simple steps to reduce their clothing footprint."

To find the closest SMART member near you to recycle your textiles and for more information on SMART, visit Please direct media inquiries for SMART to Andrea Lynn at 410-420-2001 or by email at [email protected]

Established in 1932, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) is an international nonprofit trade association that strengthens the economic opportunities of its diverse membership by promoting the interdependence of the for-profit textile recycling industry segments and providing a common forum for networking, education and trade. SMART members use and convert recycled and secondary materials from used clothing, commercial laundries and non-woven, off spec material, new mills ends and paper from around the world. SMART member companies create thousands of jobs worldwide, proving each day you can make money by being social responsible.

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