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Park City eyes clothing recycling program

Updated: March 20, 2013 3:11AM

Park City officials are considering a program to recycle unwanted used clothing, shoes and household textiles collected through conveniently placed bins in the community.

Ken Belles, representing, a recycling reseller headquartered in West Chicago, explained how the program works to interested Council members on Thursday night.

He said individual Americans purchase on average 65 pounds of new clothing and shoes each year and discard a total of about 25.4 billion pounds of textiles annually.

“Fashions change frequently and when we buy new things we are inclined to get rid of the old garments. However, they still have good use to many people throughout the world, It gives clothing a second life,” he said.

Belles said nearly 40 percent of the clothes donated to his organization stay in the U.S., while the rest are exported throughout the world. In 2010, alone the company saved 56 million pounds of textiles from ending up in local landfills or incinerators.

He described how the program could work for Park City.

Residents deposit their used clothing and shoes into a USAgain collection bin located on city property. Mayor Steve Pannell suggested two bins be provided, one for the west side of town in Robert Allen Park, and one on the east side at the Teen Center.

USAgain truck staff will periodically empty the bins, including daily if necessary. There is no cost to the city. They would even be nominally compensated one or two cents per recycled pound for their cooperation in providing the bin locations.

The clothing will then be transported to a central warehouse, processed for domestic resale, or pressed into half-ton clothing cubes for shipments overseas.

Aldermen seemed informally impressed with the program and asked Belles to work with City Attorney Peter Karlovics in drafting a proposed ordinance or resolution for review at the next council meeting.

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