UWO participates in clothes recycling program


Ryan Patrick Taylor

Mary-Rachel Novak, a Clothes the Loop volunteer, organizes donations for a recycling program.

Kaitlyn Scoville, News Writer

The UW Oshkosh campus participated in their first ever Clothes the Loop program with the North Face on March 8, which allowed students to recycle their unwanted clothing, new or used.

According to the North Face website, an average of 10 million tons of textile waste goes into landfills each year in the United States.

“That’s nearly 70 pounds of textiles per person,” the website states. “Ninety-five percent of these items could have been reused or recycled.”

UWO student and sustainability intern Elly Durand said the event is a great way to build awareness of more ways to recycle things other than just paper, plastic and glass.

“Recycling clothes is not something people typically think about when they think about recycling and reducing waste,” Durand said. “So this is just one way that our sustainability office is trying to introduce students and the campus community to more ways they can be more sustainable.”

According to the North Face website, Clothes the Loop is aimed to repurpose clothing of any kind, whether it be giving them a new home or recycling it for other uses.

“Clothes the Loop stems from our commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our products at all stages of their life cycle, including extending the life of apparel and footwear to keep it out of landfills,” the website said.

Durand said raising awareness of more ways students can recycle helps the campus maintain their sustainability.

“There is a large amount of textile waste that goes into our landfills every year, and the more people that know about an opportunity like this, the more we can start to reduce that, not only as a campus but really as a larger global community,” Durand said.

UWO student Sarah Vivian said she donated to Clothes the Loop in hopes that this event will allow other students to step back and rethink how they repurpose things.

“I think donating clothes is critical to maintaining a sustainable world because it helps get another life out of the clothing,” Vivian said. “ I also think buying clothing secondhand is critical because it eliminates the waste that it takes to make a new article of clothing.”

The North Face is co-sponsored with a nonprofit organization named Soles4Souls, whose mission is to give jobs while simultaneously repurposing the clothes that have been donated.

“The items put into our bins are used for disaster relief or programs that aim to provide small entrepreneurs with business opportunities,” the North Face website said about Soles4Souls.

The sustainability office at UWO offers other recycling opportunities such as e-waste and plastic bag collection.

“We want people to know they can do this too,” Durand said. “You don’t have to throw away if you can’t donate to Goodwill. There are other options as well.”

Because it is the sustainability office’s first trial of Clothes the Loop on campus, Durand hopes there will be more collections later this semester.

“We just really want people to know this is an option,” Durand said. “This is to test out the water. We’re already such a sustainability-minded campus. We do a lot of really great things already, but it’s always important to improve and expand on what you can.”