As Iowans prepare to celebrate National Recycling Day on November 15th, our focus this year should not just be on separating cans and bottles, but on transforming the way we think about clothing waste. In a state known for its community spirit, commitment to environmental stewardship, and Iowa nice, One Warm Coat's innovative Zero Waste Initiative stands out as a chance to join in sustainability and charity.

According to a release from the organization, One Warm Coat, founded in 1992, has been at the forefront of combating clothing waste. They have orchestrated over 49,000 coat drives across the nation and collected a staggering 8 million coats. This year they're taking their commitment a step further with the help of Retold Recycling, offering a solution for coats that cannot be donated through traditional drives, ensuring they avoid the landfill.

Credit: Image Source
Credit: Image Source

Americans generate a staggering 246 million tons of waste annually, with nearly 60% of clothing meeting a dismal fate in landfills or incineration. However, One Warm Coat has been a vital force in diverting this trend, keeping over 19 million pounds of textiles out of landfills through their Coat Drive Program.

Pile of domestic garbage in landfill
Credit: kanvag

One Warm Coat is eager to shed light on the environmental impact of clothing production, especially outerwear, and the organization's efforts to mitigate carbon emissions. The revolutionary partnership with Retold Recycling transforms the lifecycle of coats, ensuring they warm bodies instead of burdening landfills.

Credit: Joyce Grace
Credit: Joyce Grace

The power of upcycling takes center stage in One Warm Coat's story, with overstock and sample coats gaining a second life; working with retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers to upcycle outerwear sample, overrun, overstock and irregular coats and other outerwear to children and adults in need across the United States and Canada.

One Warm Coat works with each organization to coordinate shipping and delivery to its network of nonprofit agency partners, who distribute the donated items directly to the people they serve. If necessary, One Warm Coat will even cover the cost of shipping in order to get coats to those who are in need of warmth. One Warm Coat can also assist with facilitating donations other than coats.

Two child warm jackets. Red and blue
Credit: MihailDechev

As Iowans strive to make a difference this National Recycling Day, think of those that will be cold this year across the frigid Tri-States. Together, we can turn the tide on clothing waste, ensuring warmth for those in need while leaving a greener, more sustainable Iowa for generations to come.

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