Textile Waste And Recycling

According to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) and the Council for Textile Recycling [9, 10], more than 1000 businesses and organizations employing many tens of thousands of workers divert some 2 million tons of textile waste from the solid waste stream. Textile waste can be classified as either preconsumer or postconsumer. Preconsumer textile waste consists of by-product materials from the textile, fiber, and cotton industries. Each year 750,000 tons of this waste is recycled into raw materials for the automotive, furniture, mattress, coarse yarn, home furnishings, paper, and other industries. Approximately 75% of the preconsumer textile waste is recycled.

Postconsumer textile waste consists of any type of garments or household article, made of some manufactured textile, that the owner no longer needs and decides to discard. These articles are discarded either because they are worn out, damaged, outgrown, or have gone out of fashion. They are sometimes given to charities but more typically are disposed of into the trash and end up in municipal landfills. Approximately 1,250,000 tons of postconsumer textile waste (4.5 kg per capita) is recycled annually. However, the recycled amount represents less than 25% of the total postconsumer textile waste that is generated. Almost half (48%) of the recovered postconsumer textile waste is recycled as secondhand clothing, which is typically sold to developing nations. Approximately 20%

of the material processed becomes wiping and polishing cloths. Finally, 26% of this postconsumer waste is converted into fiber to be used in products similar in nature to those manufactured from preconsumer textile waste.

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