A statewide campaign to promote textile recycling in New York, “Re-Clothe NY” received a 2015 U.S. EPA Environmental Champion Award for its significant contribution to improving the environment. The campaign is collaboration between the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), the New York State Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3), and the Council for Textile Recycling (CTR). The initial launch collected more than 100,000 pounds of textiles in municipalities across New York on America Recycles Day in November 2014, and the number continues to grow through special events and local efforts.
According to NYSAR3, each year, New York residents dispose approximately 1.4 billion pounds of recoverable clothes and textiles, with an estimated market value of over $200 million. NYSAR3 estimates approximately 9,600 jobs would be created across the state if that material was dropped off for reuse and recycling. Across the country, only 15 percent of recyclable clothes and textiles are actually recovered, while 85 percent ends up in landfills and waste-to-energy facilities.