Tampa Business Partners Recycle Used Clothing, Shoes

Going Green Tampa, a directory and advocate for eco-friendly businesses and City Recycling Group, a professional clothing recycling company, are partnering to keep textiles such as clothing, shoes, purses and stuffed animals out of landfills while benefitting those in need. The companies are seeking businesses to host bins at their site, making donating convenient and accessible to the community.

Clothes and shoes take up more space than any other non-durable good in the solid waste stream, accounting for approximately 12.5 million tons of total waste per year in the U.S. alone. That amounts to 67 pounds of clothing contributed by the average person.

Currently, 185 business host bins throughout the Tampa Bay region. Any type of business qualifies to host -- apartment complexes, gas stations, restaurants, retail establishments. Businesses can receive money back from the collections they turn in or choose to donate the money to a charity. City Recycling Group picks up collections weekly.

Most of the clothing collected is recycled as second-hand clothing and sent to Second and Third World countries. Some is made into cleaning and polishing cloths for industrial use, while some is recycled into fiber for insulation.

"It's a triple benefit,'' says Tara LaSalla, partner and account manager for Going Green Tampa. "Most importantly, it keeps things out of the landfill. The host also gets money back, and it furthers their green efforts.''

If companies don't have a lot of money to spend on a green initiative, this is an easy way for them to make a difference.

"It's helping people, and it's good for the environment,'' says LaSalla.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Tara LaSalla, Going Green Tampa
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