West Virginia University is developing some innovative recycling efforts for a lesser-known recyclable – textiles.

A creative fundraiser set for this fall called ‘Piece of the Pride’ will help recycle old WVU Mountaineer Marching Band uniforms by transforming them into sellable merchandise.

This new, sustainable endeavor came about through WVU Fashion Design and Merchandising Professor Tracy Vash’s textile recycling program, A-WEAR-ness campaign for the Homeless and a donation from the WVU Mountaineer Marching Band of 300 uniforms no longer in use.

“I was so gratified when the band called about recycling all those uniforms. Many people are beginning to think green at the University, and I was really delighted to help with the project,” said WVU Recycling Coordinator Barbara Angeletti.

Angeletti worked with a company called We Shred, which cut the WVU band jackets into small strips. Then, the Wadestown Community Resource Center collected the shredded fiber for use in its rug weaving looms.

“Some of our old uniforms had outlived their usefulness, so we were looking for an option that didn’t involve throwing the uniforms out,” said WVU Marching Band Director Jay Drury. “The Creative Arts Center suggested the idea of recycling the uniforms. That option made a lot of sense to us and we were happy to do it.”

Band uniform trousers were collected by the Clarksburg Mission; workers baled and shipped the fabric for use overseas.

The band capes were picked up by Vash and she is developing various prototypes and sample products for the Pride fundraiser. The merchandise will be produced this fall with help from WVU students and featured on the apparel recycling Web site at http://www.design.wvu.edu/apparel_recycling.

In 2005, Vash developed the A-WEAR-ness Campaign for the Homeless as an alternative to landfill disposal. More than 80,000 pounds of textiles have been recycled through that program.

“Our Fashion Design and Merchandising faculty’s attention to textiles recycling has been long-standing,” Vash said. “Educating WVU students about options may shift the current disposal trend and encourage participation in more environmentally healthy alternatives.”

Inspired by the A-WEAR-ness campaign, WVU is implementing permanent textile recycling bins this fall for students, faculty and staff to donate their unwanted clothes and related textile materials.

The first bin is now in place outside of the Student Recreation Center and the second bin will be placed at the Intermodal Facility later this fall. Textile donations can be made 365 days a year at anytime. Requested donations are clothing, shoes, belts, purses, stuffed toys, bed linens, towels, and other textile-related products.

Fashion Design and Merchandising Division students and Clarksburg Mission workers will collect the donated items. The wearable textiles will be sorted at the mission’s homeless shelter and used to assist homeless individuals. Recycled textiles are made into a new product, sent to third world countries, or made into rags.

For more on sustainable efforts at WVU, go to http://wecan.wvu.edu.



Tracy Vash
Design and Merchandising
Office: (304) 293-3535