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Forest Preserve District Wins Award for Textile Recycling

The district was able to collect 44,278 pounds of clothes and shoes for reuse and recycling in 2012 by setting up 21 recycling bins around the county.

Credit: usagain-chicago.com
Credit: usagain-chicago.com
The Forest Preserve District of Will County issued this news release about the award it received for its textile recycling efforts in partnership with USAgain. Textiles are items made of cloth, such as clothing, shoes, bedding and towels:

USAgain selected the Forest Preserve District of Will County for an Innovative Community Recycling Program Award for the District’s textile recycling bins.

The private company partnered with the Forest Preserve in 2011 to provide textile recycling at select preserves and Visitor Centers around Will County. The award was one of 15 that USAgain presented at an awards presentation in November.

USAgain (pronounced Use Again) collects textiles and recycles them at its facility in West Chicago. The environmental for-profit company employs more than 200 full-time employees.

Half of all textiles recovered by USAgain are resold in the United States through 12,000 thrift stores nationwide. Thirty percent of collections are resold on the international market, and 20 percent are recycled into rags, insulation and other materials.

Twenty-one recycling bins were placed in the parking lots of 19 Forest Preserve properties. These bins are emptied weekly by USAgain.

The initial contract with the company was for one year. The Forest Preserve acquired two cents for every pound of textiles collected by USAgain. After more than 20 tons of recyclable textiles were collected from Forest Preserve bins, keeping them from ending up in landfills, the contract with USAgain was renewed last year. The Forest Preserve’s compensation increased from two cents to three cents per pound as part of the second contract.

The award presented to the Forest Preserve is a part of the first awards program sponsored by USAgain. The company hopes to make it an annual event. The program is called the Green-T Awards, short for Green T-shirt.

“T-shirts represent a simple, universally owned piece of clothing,” USAgain says.  “While T-shirts are perhaps the most common piece of clothing in the world, many people don’t think twice about the environmental impact of the T-shirts they buy, use and eventually dispose of. It’s always been a goal of USAgain to highlight the benefits of reusing and recycling all clothing, including T-shirts, and conserve resources and clothe the world by doing so.”

In announcing the award, USAgain stated that “A great way to increase recycling and keep communities green is to positively reinforce those who are leading the way toward greater sustainability. The Forest Preserve District of Will County’s initiative to host 21 recycling bins has shown dedication to making textile recycling more convenient for residents of Will County. The Forest Preserve’s willingness to promote recycling on a community level is remarkable and resulted in collecting 44,278 pounds of clothes and shoes for reuse and recycling in 2012.”

Textile recycling bins can be found at these locations:

Preserves where USAgain collection bins are located are:

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