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Recycling Industry

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Joe Pickard
Chief Economist
Director, Commodities
(202) 662-8542

Textiles Commodity



Textile recycling is a dynamic sector of the recycling industry that processes billions of pounds of cotton, wool, synthetic and synthetic-blend products each year. These scrap materials come from a number of sources, ranging from apparel and home furnishing manufacturers to textile mills and consumers.

According to a report from Scrap magazine, 2 million tons of clothing and textiles are recovered from individuals (postconsumer) and manufacturers (preconsumer) in the United States each year and are recycled as new raw materials for the automotive, furniture, mattress, coarse yarn, home furnishings, paper and other industries. This translated to about 12 lbs. of textiles per person in the Unites States in 2011.

Used clothing collected from households is graded into a number of categories. Garments in good condition are exported for resale in parts of the world where new clothing is not affordable for many. This trade provides employment not only among the exporting nations, but also in the importing countries.

Textile Recycling Industry

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