UCLA Students Keeping Tons (Literally) of Clothes Out of the Landfill

Dorm dwellers are moving out and UCLA is trying to make sure the dumpsters don't fill up with perfectly good clothes. About thirty orange bins are set up around campus where gently used clothing and textiles can be donated for reuse. That can mean anything from being re-worn to being re-purposed as upholstery stuffing.

Debra Stevenson-Peganyee with American Textile Recycling Service (ATRS) says UCLA is the biggest college campus in Southern California, with the most students living on campus. So it's no small goal UCLA has set for itself: Going waste-free by 2020. 

"Many students come from abroad," Stevenson Peganyee said. "Many of them fly in, and then they furnish their residences on campus as they go along through the school year. So they accumulate things as we all do, and then they're given a very short time to clean out their dorm rooms." Many of them fly back home and have some tough decisions about what's worth keeping, and what can be purged.

That's where those orange bins come in. Moving students have one more week before summer break to drop off gently used, out of season, or unwanted clothing, shoes and bedding.

Last year ATRS collected more than 30,000 pounds of clothing and shoes at UCLA. The for-profit company says every item gets a second life, whether it's resold or radically transformed, via recycling, into another product. This year even more bins are available, including some off-campus that are accessible to UCLA's neighbors in Westwood. Locals are encouraged to purge their own closets and help keep some textiles out of the landfill.

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