Have you ever wondered what happens to the apparel that you drop into a Clothing Donation Bin?
We visited a Textile sorting business and saw first-hand how your second-hand apparel is sorted and processed.
Every day, trucks deliver 55,000 lbs of textiles-collected from clothing donation bins-to this textile sorting plant.
The textile plant pays for the donated clothing by the pound. If you’ve dropped your clothing into a bin identified as a charity, the profit derived from the sale of the clothing is paid to the charity.
The clothing is fed onto a conveyer belt. The conveyer belt carries the apparel past sorting stations. At the top of each station, the apparel is sorted by type (denim, tops, bottoms, T-shirts, Long-sleeves, etcetera). At the bottom of each station, the apparel is sorted by quality/value (name-brand, good-quality, worn, total garbage, etcetera). The high-value apparel is distributed mostly to North American vintage shops, most often the local Sally-Anne.
The rest is sorted by grade, then compressed down to 500 lb or 1,000 lb bundles. The bundles are put into shipping containers and sent all over the globe for resale. The whole operation requires deep infrastructure and logistics, but even at pennies per pound, there is value in the second-life of your clothing.
At Eco Apparel, we take it one step further by separating out the 100% polyester and/or 100% recycled polyester and divert it to our Closed-Loop Apparel Recycling process. Closed-Loop Apparel Recycling converts used and tired polyester clothing into new polyester that we can use to make new clothing. This not only diminishes our requirement for petroleum-based new polyester and saves energy, but it recycles and re-uses apparel that will eventually end up either in an incinerator or a landfill (albeit on a different continent, and after a second and maybe third life).
For our customers that cannot have their logo’d apparel (re: uniforms) re-distributed into the second-hand market, we can destroy the clothing and down-cycle the fabric to wiping rags or fiber-fill (a low-grade fabric suitable for industrial applications like automotive trunk-liner).