Turn cloth into cash

Used textiles and textile scraps are a largely untapped source of additional revenues for thrift stores, retailers, and clothing manufacturers. Textile recycling industries are dumping nearly 85 percent of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW), according to the Council for Textile Recycling. That’s a whole lot of lost revenue!

Annual sales of used textiles, clothing, and shoes exceed $700 million annually. This is only accounting for the 15 percent of recycled clothing that is being reused.

Perhaps, businesses just don’t realize that markets for used clothing are abundant.

Charities, such as Goodwill, that collect used clothing are already privy to the income-generating potential of recycling clothing. Of the 80 percent donations sold to recyclers:

  • 45 percent is reused or recycled, the majority of which is exported as secondhand clothing.
  • 30 percent is recycled and converted.
  • 20 percent is broken down into their original fibers.

Only about 5 percent must be thrown away because they do not meet material standards.

There are scores of items that can be reused or recycled, including clothing, household linens, towels, sheets, curtains, stuffed animals, shoes, hats, purses, and belts, according to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART).

Thrift stores, retailers, and clothing manufacturers may be surprised how excess clothing scraps and recycled textiles can be reused. The SMART fact sheet lists a number of goods using recycled clothing and fibers, including:

  • Automobile insulation
  • Wiping rags and polishing cloths
  • Home insulation
  • Paving material
  • Carpet padding
  • Stuffing for pillows, sleeping bags, and animal beds
  • Baseball and softball filling
  • Jewelry box lining
  • Paper money

If you generate or sell clothing, shoes, and other textiles, even strange items like teddy bears, there is a recyclables market niche for you. Berg Mill Supply can match your materials to the appropriate buyers and can even forge new markets for unique recyclables.

Interest in offloading excess materials for added income? Contact us! Berg Mill Supply handles a wide variety of materials, including used clothing and cloth scraps. In fact, our history reaches back almost a century to the Berg family’s collection of companies, including paper, metal, and textile recycling.

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