Wed May 25, 2016

Costa Mesa School Places Third in State in Clothing Recycling Contest

Originally published in The Orange County Register

Students at Killybrooke Elementary School in Costa Mesa recently collected 2,304 pounds of clothes in one month, good enough to place third in a statewide recycling competition.

Chicago-based clothing recycler USAgain sponsored the annual Earth Month Challenge in which schools in 10 states compete to collect clothes and shoes for re-wear, reuse and recycling.

The school’s third-place finished also came with a $100 cash prize.

“The Killybrooke School community is thrilled to do its part with recycling and teaching our children to be responsible for our environment.,” said Principal Lori Hoggard in a statement.

The winners are chosen based on how many pounds of clothes are collected in a USAgain bin placed at each school.

This year’s contest ran from March 15 through April 15. Statewide, 120 schools took in 72,034 pounds of clothing, preventing more than 1 million pounds of carbon emissions.

Arlene Bitely Elementary School in Rosemead won first place and McPherson Elementary School in Napa came in second in the state.

Since 2013, Killybrooke has collected 13,777 pounds of clothing, said company spokeswoman Rasham Grewal.

USAgain collects the unwanted wears and resells them throughout the world. Last year, the company took in over 50.7 million pounds of clothing, shoes and other textiles.Those items will be given to wholesalers, thrift stores and traders, Grewal said.

“Clothing that is in condition to be re-worn is used second-hand,” she said. “The rest can be recycled into things like home insulation, mattress materials and things like that.”

Nationally, around 11 millions tons of clothing are thrown away and buried in landfills each year, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

For USAgain, the contest is a way to solicit donations as it is a teachable moment.

“There’s a real lack of education,” Grewal said. “When you talk to people about recycling these days, they always talk about glass, plastic, paper and aluminum.”