After being donated, what happens to the recycled clothing and shoes? Where do they go? How do they get there?
Since 1991, Ecosmith Recyclers has kept over 50 million pounds of shoes, clothing and household textiles out of landfills and in circulation, while giving back over $1,000,000 to local non-profit groups.
It happens fairly often that we receive questions about recycled clothing and shoes and what happens once items are donated. It is a very simple process, but it is one that requires labor, time, and coordination.
The process begins when a person decides that the time has come to donate out of season, out of style, or no longer needed items. Those items are ideally placed into bags and then tied for easier handling throughout the collection process. Bags of recycled clothing and shoes are then placed into Ecosmith bins.
On predetermined routes each day, our team members drive around to each bin and collect the recycled clothing and shoes. After collection, the items are brought back to our shop where they are sorted into various categories. Shoes, toys, books, and household items are placed into boxes. Clothing and various textiles are compressed into 1000 lb bales.
We work with various groups to coordinate the sale and transport of recycled clothing and shoes. At scheduled times, trucking companies pick up shipping containers from a port and bring them to our shop. We then load the bales into the container, after which it is returned to port. From there, it is loaded onto a cargo ship and taken to developing nations worldwide.
Once these materials arrive at their destination overseas, they are unloaded, sorted, and then sold in open air markets or bazaars.
Recycled clothing and shoes that are damaged are repaired. If those items are no longer repairable, they are recycled into wiping cloths, insulation, material used to create athletic and playground surfaces, and more.
If you are interested in making a donation, let us know and we can direct you to your nearest bin.