Back to School Shopping – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Every fall, students around the country go back to school, and before that, many go back-to-school shopping. If you plan on buying new clothing and shoes for the upcoming school year, please take the time to dispose of your old items in a responsible, eco-friendly way. Clothing and textiles are nearly 100 percent recyclable and your old clothing can be recycled through donation or simple curbside recycling.  Many local governments have information on agencies that collect used clothing to assist disadvantaged families in your specific area.  This not only makes use of items that would have likely ended up in the landfill, it also provides direct assistance to many in need. In addition to thrift store resale, there are clothing recyclers who convert items to scraps or sell them overseas. Recycled clothing can become anything from cleaning rags and carpet padding to rubberized playgrounds and insulation.

Some major brands make it easy to recycle their items.  For example, Nike and H&M recycle and reuse their products in creative ways through a “closed loop” system.

Nike’s “closed loop” vision involves using the fewest possible materials assembled in such a way as to allow them to easily be recycled into new products.  One example is their Reuse-A-Shoe program.  Started in the early 1990’s, the program was developed to reclaim materials from worn-out athletic shoes that were headed for the landfill.  Since the program’s inception, Nike has collected and recycled more than 30,000 tons of scrap material as well as over 25 million pairs of athletic shoes.  The shoes and scrap materials are recycled into Nike Grind, which is used in sports surfaces, providing safer places for kids to play.

According to their website, the clothing company H&M is committed to reducing, reusing and recycling wherever they can. H&M launched a global initiative asking customers to hand in unwanted garments (any brand, any condition) to H&M stores. The fashion company is also developing techniques to create their own “closed loop system”, turning old garments into new fashion items. They report that they’ve collected over 3,000 tons of garments – the equivalent of 15 million t-shirts.

School supplies and electronics can also be recycled. As you begin thinking about what supplies and items might be needed for the upcoming school year, please keep Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in mind.  If you need to purchase a new item, please find an eco-friendly home for your previously used items.

At Ed4Career we hope to set a standard for sustainable education practices in our industry. In addition to maintaining environmentally responsible business practices, we promote balanced and healthy living for our staff. Visit us today to learn more!

By Kris Powers | August 5th 2014

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