USAgain (pronounced “use-again”) is a green, for-profit business leading the charge toward eliminating textile waste. Founded in 1999, USAgain operates over 10,000 collection bins in 17 states across the U.S. In 2012, USAgain collected nearly 60 million pounds of unwanted textiles, and by doing so diverted harmful waste from landfills.
According to the EPA, 85% of discarded textiles are incinerated and landfilled every year. This amounts to 11 million mind-boggling tons of wasted textiles per year. USAgain’s goal is simple: to provide consumers with a convenient, eco-friendly method to dispose of surplus textiles. The most important number to remember when it comes to textile recycling is 100% – 100% of textiles are recyclable.
So where does an article of clothing go after being deposited in a USAgain bin? There are multiple answers for that question. About 40 percent of clothes collected remain in the U.S. while the rest are sent abroad. Worldwide, 70 percent of people wear secondhand clothes – some by choice, others by necessity. Local entrepreneurs benefit greatly from clothes recycled by USAgain – it allows them to make a living and provide low-cost clothing for their community.
When textiles aren’t recycled, they are sent to landfills. Landfilling any kind of trash requires incineration – or burning – of said trash. Incineration emits a great deal of carbon dioxide, which is the most prevalent of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Think of every pair of pants, shirt, shoe or bedsheet as a tiny weight being lifted from the environment’s shoulders.
USAgain is leading the charge to encourage the re-wear, re-use and recycling of clothes, shoes and other textiles. Extending the life of clothing and shoes for a sustainable planet and a better future – and present – for all.
Together we can work to give clothes a second life and make the world a greener, cleaner place.