Recycling Rangers program a success;
NCTO meets with EURATEX.
The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) is well on its way to the goal of reaching more than one million students within the first three years of its elementary student educational project. For the second consecutive school year, SMART provided no-cost lesson plans to elementary school teachers in 14 U.S. regions to introduce the concept of clothing recycling in their classrooms.
The Recycling Rangers program was added this year to encourage schools to choose and designate ambassadors as Recycling Rangers to lead recycling education efforts and projects, and create used clothing collection drives. A total of 556, 875 students were reached by the program’s lesson plans and take-home activities. Combined with the 323,400 students reached during the 2012–2013 school year, SMART has reached 899,975 students in two years.
A year-end survey of teachers showed 84 percent of teachers feel that since becoming a Recycling Ranger, their students are now familiar with the concept of textile recycling. It also showed that 98 percent of students and 100 percent of teachers think it is important to reuse and recycle. In addition, 85 percent of teachers have some interest in coordinating a textile drive at their school, and 86 percent of the teachers surveyed said they would recommend the program to their colleagues, with 61 percent of them planning to teach 10+ more years, which would allow them to continue as advocates for SMART.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report on municipal solid waste, 20.44 billion pounds of clothing and footwear was discarded in 2012, with an additional 2.58 billion pounds of towels, sheets and pillowcases thrown away. By educating students on the benefits of recycling during their early years, SMART hopes to change the perception that when getting rid of used clothing, the only options are donating them to a charitable organization or throwing them away.
Find more information on SMART and its initiatives at www.smartasn.org.
NCTO, EURATEX trade issues
National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) staff recently met with the EU counterpart, the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX), which represents the European textile and apparel sector, employing 1.6 million workers.
The groups discussed overall goals in regard to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the potential to reach a joint U.S. /EU textile industry position on specific TTIP issues. TTIP is an effort to establish a free trade bloc between the United States and the 28 member nations of the European Union.
“The effort to establish a comprehensive free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union marks the first time U.S. manufacturers and exporters may be able to enjoy FTA access to an overseas market that rivals our own,” said Augustine Tantillo, NCTO president and CEO.
The NCTO then made a formal stakeholder presentation at the fifth negotiation round of the TTIP in Arlington, Va., to highlight key U.S. textile industry positions, including the need for a Yarn-Forward Rule of Origin and the preservation of U.S. government procurement regulations, such as the Berry Amendment. The U.S. textile industry has increased productivity by 24 percent over the last 10 years, making textiles one of the top industries among all industrial sectors in productivity increases. It is the third largest exporter of textile products in the world. Exports of all textile products were nearly $17.9 billion 2013. Total textile and apparel exports were a record $23.7 billion in 2013.