By Tia Lynn Lecorchick Managing Editor
The Morgan County Board of Commissioners approved a new and free recycling program provided through USAgain, a for-profit company founded in 1999 that provides receptacles specifically for textiles (clothes, shoes, and other household items) throughout the country. USAgain has 27 Georgia partners, with Morgan County becoming the 28th on Tuesday, April 21. USAgain plans to place 13 textile recycling containers throughout the county and pay the county three cents for every pound of textiles collected.
“USAgain provides a convenient alternative for citizens to recycle their unwanted textiles, rather than disposal through standard solid waste channels,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, Regional Sale Manager for USAgain. “This process improves our environment, by reducing landfill solid waste, emission gases, and improves water savings through the reuse, repurposing or recycling of textiles and reduces the amount of harmful pesticides and fertilizers used in the textile manufacturing processes, creates an additional new revenue stream, all at no cost, no work, and no liability for all participating counties, cities, universities, colleges, school systems and civic organizations.”
“People do not realize the effects textiles are having on our environment,” explained Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald cited a statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency that “more than 13.1 million tons of textile waste is generated annually, making textile waste one of the largest sources of all waste in the USA.” The commissioners supported USAgain’s work and voted to approve the placement of USAgain collection receptacles in the county. “I think it would be a great benefit to Morgan County Schools to have one,” said Ellen Warren, a BOC member. “It would be good for people to be cognizant of the fact that this could be available locally,” added Michael Lamar, county manager. According to the USAgain packet distributed at the BOC meeting, “Our mission is to give new life to clothes and shoes that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Our process is simple: we place a recycling bin in a designated spot in your parking lot where the community can recycle surplus clothes and shoes…At least once a week, we collect the items and bring them to our local warehouse where they are processed and shipped to markets in need of affordable clothes in the U.S. and abroad. Most of the clothes are reused, and the rest are recycled into insulation or wiping rags. USAgain creates green sector jobs, protects the environment, and helps improve the well-being of people in American and around the world.”