Impact of Our Textiles Recycling is a WIN-WIN-WIN
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Reuse and recycling of used clothing and shoes create social, educational and economic development in some of the poorest communities and nations in the world
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Promoting, handling and placing clothes collection bins, collecting and handling the clothes and shoes create employment and economic growth in USA
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Reuse and recycling of used clothing and shoes are excellent weapons in the fight against global warming
Used clothing and used shoes have many positive impacts on society and environment when collected, sorted and distributed for prolonged uses. It offsets part of greenhouse gas emission that manufacturing of new clothing generates, create jobs and employment, provide funds for charitable programs and it grows local economies.
Thousands of charities generate funds for their programs by collecting and reselling used clothing. Gaia is one such charity. On an annual basis Gaia collects and resells 15 million pounds for used clothing and shoes. With the income from that activity Gaia has supported some 30 environmental projects in Sub Saharan and West Africa, South America and the far east Asia that help individuals and communities improve the condition of their lives.
Approximately 500  non-profit and for-profit companies employ some 500,000  people in the used clothing industry in the USA. That ranges from nonprofits like Gaia, Saint Vincent de Paul, Planet Aid, Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries to commercial recyclers like USAgain and ATRS to grading operations like SOEX, Midwest Textiles to thrift stores run by Savers, Goodwill and Salvation Army. There are approximately 10,000 thrift store and 150,000 collection boxes in the USA. Used clothing, shoes and textiles combined is among the largest export product from the USA in tonnage.
Producing clothing, shoes and textiles contributes to 10% of the world’s CO2 emissions through its agricultural and manufacturing and retail process. Depositing these in landfills generates 1.5-2.2 pounds of greenhouse gases such as methane per pound of landfilled textile. Reusing or recycling textiles saves on all the resources used in the agricultural, petrochemical, manufacturing and retail processes
.SMART, The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association represents close to 200 companies. Goodwill is a conglomerate consisting of some 165 companies. Salvation Army is one, Savers is one, Planet Aid is one, but Saint Vincent de Paul has many separate companies under the same name. It is safe to assume that there are at least 500 companies in the USA.
.Goodwill employs 113,000, Salvation Army employs 60,000. It is fair to assume that the combined employment in the industry is around 500,000 considering that the industry consists of some 500 companies.