Textile waste is a huge problem. Based on data from the EPA, in 2018, 11.3 million tons of textiles ended up in landfills accounting for 7.7% of total landfill waste. And it can take more than 200 years for those textiles to decompose.
These numbers are expected to continue growing. A case in point? In the last twenty years, the volume of clothes Americans throw away annually has doubled. Fast fashion has made clothing production and consumption skyrocket, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.
One of the solutions to the problem lies in clothing manufacturers and distributors developing comprehensive textile recycling programs. But this isn’t always a straightforward task, leading many to wonder if it’s even worth it.
The short answer is that it is always worth it. There are several reasons beyond environmental ones that corporations should consider textile recycling.
6 Reasons to Consider a Textile Recycling Program
Here are six reasons your corporation needs a recycling program.
1. Increase Visibility and Transparency: Without a recycling program, there’s no way to really see what’s happening with your waste. With a textile recycling program that provides authenticated, verifiable data, brands can quantify the number of textiles they’re dumping and diverting and use that information to ensure they meet asset protection guidelines and ESG goals.
2. Minimize Dumpster and Contractor Overage Fees: Textiles are heavy, and in some places, they may even be considered a contaminant in the waste stream. Both issues can lead to additional fines or dumpster costs. By putting a clothes recycling program in place, companies can avoid these extra charges.
3. Tax Incentives and Rebates: By increasing the diversion percentage on your ESG report, you might be able to qualify for additional tax incentives and rebates.
4. Brand Protection: Getting rid of a large volume of overflow textiles isn’t great for brand image. Whether you’re donating or diverting your unsold merchandise, you usually don’t want that reputation associated with your brand. Creating a comprehensive clothes recycling program can include a debranding provision, which ensures you can get rid of your overstock without devaluing your brand.
5. Community Connection: Developing a textile recycling program can be a way to give back to the community, especially if you partner with a recycling company that sorts and donates used textiles to local resale shops and charities. Additionally, by responsibly handling your textile waste and keeping unnecessary waste out of the landfills, you’re helping protect the health of your community no matter where your textile overflow ends up.
6. Environmental Responsibility: We still have to mention the environmental responsibility angle because the textile industry generates more greenhouse gasses than every industry except for aluminum. It also accounts for 10% of the total global CO2 emissions. And despite the environmental consequences of producing clothing, only around 1% of clothing material is recycled into new clothing. Right now, the United States is on track to run out of landfill space by 2036 if drastic measures aren’t taken. Committing to a textile recycling program ensures your company is being environmentally responsible.
Getting Started with Textile Recycling
There’s no denying that fast fashion waste is a problem, but with a comprehensive textile recycling program, you can do your part to help keep textiles out of landfills. There are several options for textile waste diversion, including:
- Reuse: Send your reusable textiles to local secondhand shops and charities.
- Recycle & Repurpose: Find a recycling company that can help repurpose textiles into furniture padding, cleaning supplies, and more.
- Incinerate: Locate an incineration plant and turn your fast fashion waste into renewable energy.
- Partner with a Sustainability and Recycling Company: Hand over your waste to professionals that offer these solutions and more, and who can help craft and customize the perfect textile recycling program for your brand.
At CheckSammy, we offer customizable textile recycling solutions to fit your unique needs. We also offer debranding services to ensure your brand and value stay intact no matter which path your textiles take. Plus, with us, you get complete visibility into your textile recycling program with verified and unalterable data and analytics to use for your ESG reports. Contact us today to get started.
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