San Francisco is on course to be the first major city in the world to achieve the heralded goal of zero waste. To help accomplish this monumental task, the San Francisco Department of the Environment and I:CO are partnering on the first large scale Zero Waste Textile Initiative. This collaboration will help San Francisco achieve its goal of zero waste by sending no clothing, shoes or other textiles to landfill.
San Francisco annually sends almost 20,000 tons of textiles to landfill. That is 4,587 pounds every hour and over 39 million pounds a year! Textiles are in the top five landfill materials that can be either recycled or repurposed for other uses. Through this new program, these valuable material resources will be collected with the aim to find their highest and best next use. The ultimate goal is to keep them all in an everlasting, closed loop product cycle.
The Department of the Environment’s and I:CO’s new initiative creates a public, private and non-profit infrastructure to make it easier, convenient and rewarding for San Francisco residents and businesses to recycle textiles.
By reducing textile waste, the city will protect the environment, create green jobs, generate economic growth, further solidify San Francisco as the “greenest city in North America” and lead and inspire communities, businesses and other cities around the globe.
San Francisco has achieved a nation-leading 80% landfill waste diversion rate. Both the city and I:CO are committed to helping close the gap by reaching zero textile waste. We all have the power to change our environment. San Francisco and I:CO take this heart and are creating the standard for this important work and building a sustainable future for our planet.
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|What is I:CO?|
TURNING OLD INTO NEW – A GOOD IDEA, WELL THOUGHT OUT!
I:CO means a global commitment to our environment. Each one of us can get involved and make a contribution to something big without any great effort. Sustainable consumption. Isn’t that an oxymoron? No, it’s not. The name I:CO stands for “I collect.“ Our system is as follows: With our take back system, we can all bring back our unwanted clothing, shoes or accessories such as belts or bags to the places we bought them. Worldwide I:CO provides the infrastructure to ensure that the valuable raw materials from these old textiles enter a closed loop production cycle and remain there. From collection to recycling, consumer goods are recycled and put to a new use. In this way every consumer and every participating company is actively contributing to climate protection.
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|How does I:CO work?|
HERE’S HOW – A WIN-WIN SITUATION FOR MANKIND AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Why is it worthwhile joining in? The I:CO system is simple yet ingenious. Numerous retail partners are involved, including global players such as Esprit, C & A, Adler, Reno, H&M and Puma. Their customers deposit used textiles with them, and thus create space for new things. How do you benefit? In exchange, customers receive a voucher with which they can immediately get money off a new purchase.
Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, leather clothing and furs, underwear and socks, belts and bags and household linens and cushions are all collected in the designated I:CO boxes and at I:CO Counters. I:CO arranges their environmentally-friendly removal, sorting and reuse. This creates the basis for the permanent, 100% reuse of resources. The aim is to integrate all collected clothing, shoes and other textiles into a recycling process by 2020, while completely eliminating waste products.
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|The I:CO philosophy|
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – ECOLOGICAL CONCEPT MEETS CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
In every country in which I:CO collects clothing, shoes and other textiles the following rule applies: A recycling plant is built when used goods exceed a volume of 500 tons per day – and this creates jobs too! This is a major economic factor as well, and particularly in the world’s poorest countries. With what is known as downcycling, parts of sneakers are already being turned into running tracks or underlay for children’s playgrounds. I:CO’s aim goes farther, however, and is known as upcycling. This involves a reusage process which creates a product of equal or higher value. To achieve this, the product must be designed correctly from the start. The system therefore depends on the initiative of manufacturers and also on the help of consumers: The more they ask for goods produced in a raw materials cycle, the faster these items will establish themselves in the market.
|I:CO – The company|
PART OF A STRONG GROUP – SUCCESSFUL ON AN INTERNATIONAL SCALE OR AN EYE ON THE INTERNATIONAL AND GLOBAL STAGE
I:Collect USA (I:CO) is part of the SOEX Group. SOEX is a world leader in the classic areas of textile and shoe recycling. With almost 3,000 employees worldwide, the corporation currently processes around 1,000 tons of used items every day in 74 countries: I:CO has collection points in 59 markets all over the world. We recently expanded into Asia and Africa and will be collecting in Australia in 2014. In addition to the existing markets, the system is to be expanded to take in Asia, Australia and Africa in the coming years.