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Rag Trade Needs to Recycle

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Rag Trade Needs to Recycle

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SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 12: Trucks dump garbage into a pit at Sunset Scavenger May 12, 2009 in San Francisco, California. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom annouced today the city of San Francisco leads the nation with a 72 percent recycling rate. A new mandatory ordinace to recycle coompostable materials will begin this week following the mayor's successful construction debris recycling ordinace that accounts for the lowest tonnage sent to landfills in over 30 years. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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We might throw around the term "disposable fashion" when referring to the bargains to be had at cheap and trendy chains like H&M, but the fact is, we're disposing way too many textiles - five percent of the city's garbage, in fact - and they're ending up in landfills. 

But it's not consumers that are the biggest culprits. Rather, the rag trade is dumping clothes like they're, er, rags. Now, New York is considering ways the industry can recycle more textiles, The New York Times reports.

Currently, businesses are required to separate out textiles if it makes up more than 10 percent of their waste. However, that's not happening nearly enough, in part due to the measly $25 fine that's imposed if companies fail to adhere to the rule. But before changing its laws, City Council is calling for a study of commercial waste.

There's also a consumer-based effort in the works for clothing, shoes, and such. The Department of Sanitation would like to station recycling containers around the city in the next year, the contents of which would be collected and sold to recyclers by a not-for-profit group.

This would be in addition to the recent efforts to pickup clothing from bins in apartment buildings.

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