By Patricia Escarcega on Mar 28, 2013

Nation's Largest Collegiate Clothing Drive Set for Earth Week

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Photo: Flickr/bigwibble6

Photo: Flickr/bigwibble6

SustainU, a clothing company that makes 100 percent recycled, American-made apparel, is teaming up with Planet Aid for the nation’s largest collegiate clothing drive.

Colleges and universities from every state will compete in the One Shirt Challenge to see which school can collect the most clothes during Earth Week 2013 (April 15-20). The school group that collects the most clothes in their division will earn the title of “Big Shirt On Campus” and receive custom-made 100 percent recycled shirts from Sustain U.

Planet Aid, a nonprofit organization that collects and recycles used clothing and shoes to support sustainable development around the world, will be providing collection bins for participating campuses. Planet Aid will also pick up bins, weigh donations and donate up to five cents per pound of clothes collected to charity.

Organizers hope the clothing drive will raise awareness of the importance of textile recycling. Textile recycling reduces landfill waste, saves crucial resources like water and gasoline and creates thousands of recycling jobs.

Currently, the average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing each year, according to SustainU. This adds up to nearly 21 billion pounds of clothes. Although the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste each year, this still leaves about 85 percent of textile waste in landfills, according to the Council for Textile Recycling.

“A single pair of jeans requires 900 gallons of water to make, enough for 60 showers,” says SustainU on their website. “Throwing them away is a huge waste.”

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