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, trucks with containers arrive at our shop to pick up the processed material. Once loaded, the truck sets off and begins the journey to the material's final destination.
Once these materials arrive at their destination, they are unloaded, sorted, and then sold at highly discounted prices.
All material that can still be worn is sold with that goal in mind. Attempts are then made to repair damaged clothing and shoes. If those items are no longer repairable, they are recycled into wiping cloths, insulation, material used to create athletic and playground surfaces, and more.
After all is said and done, 95% of the material that we receive is put to good use.
If you are interested in making a donation, let us know and we can direct you to your nearest bin.