According to experts, the seventh largest category of waste in Thurston County Washington is textiles. Through a program called Threadcycle, Goodwill recycles all types of textiles and clothing items that simply do not sell.
Every year, the average America tosses out as much as 70 pounds of clothing, as well as other textiles. That means that annually, roughly 6,000 tons of textiles are sent to landfills. Instead of these items filling up landfills, they could be recycled, as expressed by waste reduction specialist for Thurston County, Katherine Straus.
To decrease the intensity of this problem, Thurston County’s solid waste program has now launched a unique recycling campaign known as Threadcycle specifically for clothing and textiles.
Obviously, recycling clothes and textiles is a good move for the environment. In 2012, 2.25 million tons of textiles were recycled in the US, this according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That amount prevented the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to removing 1.2 million cars from operation every year.
For people in and around Olympia, clothing and other textiles can be dropped off at any Goodwill location. Of course, there are other donation sites, including Value Village that support Threadcycle. As explained by George White, spokesman for Goodwill, the goal is to keep as much out of landfills possible.
At Goodwill stores, a tiered system is used, which consists of higher-end items being sold online, designer items going to main retail outlets and Blue stores, and for donations that do not sell, recycling on the international salvage market is the solution. Even clothing that is slightly worn is given new life. Basically, any clothes or textiles that can no longer be used for their original purpose still have value by being recycled.
For instance, textiles that are recycled are used for auto insulation or rags. Items that are torn, stained, or damaged, as well as single items like socks and gloves, old sheets, and even baseball caps have new purpose when recycled.
The only clothing and textiles that Goodwill cannot accept and use as part of the Threadcycle program are those that are mildewed, wet, or exposed to hazardous chemicals. The bottom line, items that end up in the Threadcycle recycling program are used as resources for many purposes including job training programs.
To improve the environment but also help other people and industries in need, White is encouraging the people of Thurston County to donate clothing and textiles instead of throwing them in the trash.