Textile Recycling 101

This image was originally posted to Flickr by Unhindered by Talent at http://flickr.com/photos/26406919@N00/16276040

Every year in the United States, over 10 million tons of textiles are manufactured and account for 4% of all the waste entering landfills. The word textile is a board term and encompasses everything from the garments we wear and the sheets on our beds to the carpets in our living rooms and the cushions on our chairs. This wide class of manufactured goods can be broken down into two general categories, materials like carpets and mattresses that have a relatively long life span and those like garments and bedding which are often views as seasonal or disposable textiles.

The entire concept of a “disposable” item is itself deceitful. Even if an item (like a cotton t-shirt) is 100% bio-degradable, sending the item to a landfill is wasting all the resources that went into its production. No manufacturing plant is operated without large amounts of electricity, water, and human effort. This is not to mention the coal, oil, water, electricity, etc that was spent obtaining the raw materials for use in the plant’s production (never mind the raw materials themselves). Unfortunately, the modern fashion industry has built empires around an ever revolving door of so call “disposable fashion.” The “must have” item from last fall’s runway is suddenly hideous in the light of spring and in its place is another garment with an equally limited lifespan.

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

If the world of fashionstas and fashionistos can’t be persuaded to the side of slow fashion, we must at the very least preach and promote the accessibility of textile recycling. The world of textile recycling is a double sided coin that shines as brightly on one side as it does the other. Not only does it aid the environment, but it also aids our fellow man.

The simplest and most accessible way to recycle unused textiles is through donations to companies like Goodwill and The Salvation Army. Of the 2.5 billion pounds of textiles recycled each year in the United States, 50% are recycled through charitable organizations that sort, donate, and/or resell otherwise unwanted items. Besides providing clothing to needy individuals, these companies frequently sponsor programs that offer education and/or employment to otherwise unemployable segments of the population. Even garments and linens that are stained or torn can be donated to such charities because a portion of their income is obtained by selling unusable textile goods to recycling centers.

At the textile recycling center, otherwise unwanted textile goods are cut up and/or broken down to create new products for the consumer market. Cotton may be cut into rags for polishing and cleaning purposes or broken down into fiber to create high quality paper goods. Wool may be shredded to create insulation or upholstery stuffing. Findings such as buttons and zippers are removed and set aside for reuse in new garments. Unusable natural materials eventually find their way to a compost pile, leaving as little as 5% total waste product.

This image is property of The Council for Textile Recycling.


Everyday Minerals Base

My girlfriends at MaryJanes Farm and I were having a long conversation about mineral make-up when Everyday Minerals was mentioned. As a girl who wears very little make-up (mascara and lipstick), I was looking for a light base to smooth out my complexion a bit for a more polished overall look. The dilema being that I tend to hate the way standard foundation feels on my skin. To me, even the high-priced specialty brands start to feel like a coating of lard halfway through the day (not to mention some of their ingredients are a bit frightening). Since it was fairly unanimous that mineral make-up has a much nicer texture and holds up better in the humidity than standard make-up, I knew that I was looking in the right direction. When one of the girls mentioned that the brand she uses (Everyday Minerals) offers a free sample pack of their bases, I knew which line I was going to try first.

Once on the Everyday Minerals site, it was extremely easy to find the free samples. Instead of being hidden in some out-of-the-way place, the offer is predominately displayed at the top of the homepage. Once on the page, you choose the color range that your skin tone falls into and add the sample to your basket. Included in the sample are five .03 oz jars of mineral base (one in each color of the range and in each of the four formulas available in the base). The first sample is always free (all you are asked to pay is the shipping) and additional samples are five dollars.

When my sample order of five trial sized bases arrived I couldn’t wait to try them. despite the fact it was nearly midnight, I had to see how they were going to look. My enthusiasm was dampened a bit by the difficulty of opening the jars. The clear plastic film over the sifting holes was not only difficult to see, but impossible to remove without help from the tweezers. Once all of the jars were open, I lined them up on the counter and started applying little daubs to my face to determine my perfect color. The colors I had to choose from were sandy medium, medium tan, olive medium, light tan, and sandy tan. I quickly narrowed my colors down to either medium tan (semi matte) or sandy tan (matte) and proceeded to apply each to one half of my face. Over the larger area, I soon decided that the sandy tan was a bit too orange for my skin but continued with the application anyway. The base felt light and blended easily, leaving no make-up lines. The semi matte formula of the medium tan smoothed out the small flaws while still looking natural. Once I had applied my jesters mask of bases, I finished my make-up regime as usual with a sweep of bronzer (another recent addition by the recommendation of my stylist friend), mascara, and a deep raisin toned lipstick. I looked great, but the true test was yet to come.

The next day, I really put Everyday Minerals to the test. I was going to work in a venue that had minimal air conditioning on a rather warm South Florida day. Although I always try to look professional, situations like this are usually the ones in which I avoid foundation type make-up at all costs. I applied medium tan base beneath my standard look and went about my day. To my surprise, I completely forgot I was wearing base. When I looked in the mirror at the end of the day, my face still looked smooth and clean with no caking or other ill effects of the humidity. These excellent results have been repeated three times now.

In short…yes, I do recommend Everyday Minerals Base . The “negative” I have seen regarding this product in other reviews is it’s sheerness, which is exactly what I love about it. I do not look or feel like I am wearing gobs of make-up. In this product, I feel like myself and I feel beautiful.

Not only is it a great product, the company providing it has a conscience as well. Everyday Minerals has signed with the Leaping Bunny Organization to verify their commitment to a cruelty free, no animal testing product. They also give back to their local Texas community by reaching out to women who have been victims of domestic violence.

Photo Credits: All photos are property of EverydayMinerals http://www.everydayminerals.com