Textile Waste Resource Recovery: A Case Study Of New York State’S Textile Recycling System
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Growing amounts of textiles waste in landfills have become a concern for many. This study looked into the existing textile recycling system in New York State that performs the recovery, reuse and recycling of textiles, and provides alternatives to landfill disposal. The information pursued in this research highlights the system that brings together diverse stakeholders who work individually and together to recover apparel and textile waste in efforts to recuperate economic value and reduce the environmental impacts of landfill disposal of these materials. This study highlights systemic efficiencies and inefficiencies in textile waste recovery and recycling efforts that can assist in improving diversion efforts and increasing both input and output to the system, in order to reduce textile waste in landfills. Because waste of all kinds is produced in communities locally, the research questions and answers sought to better understand how textiles are processed within the textile recycling system on local and regional levels. Another objective was to understand if and how the United States could become more accountable for the textile waste it produces and decrease dependency on foreign exports of second hand clothing and other textile waste. New York State has a high population, limited landfill space and is home to one of the world's major fashion capitals, New York City, making it a unique region for a case study on its textile recycling system. Research questions were explored and answered through a mixed methodological research design that combined primary qualitative and quantitative data with secondary data. Primary data was gathered from consumers through an exploratory consumer survey on textile disposal behaviors and from interviews with key informants from municipal recycling management, the textile recycling industry, the fashion industry and higher education. Secondary data was reviewed both during the literature review and the data analysis process to triangulate results while answering the research questions. Results from this research indicated that in order to effectively improve landfill diversion of textile waste consumer education and increased participation from the fashion industry are necessary for success. Recommendations for increasing system output are also explored.
Clothing Recycling; New York State; Textile Waste
M.A., Apparel Design
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis