Japanese Clothing Company Brings All-Product Recycling to US

Japanese clothing company UNIQLO is introducing its All-Product Recycling Initiative at its stores in the US, UK and France starting September 1, 2011.

The initiative, which has now collected more than 11,510,000 articles of clothing, donates wearable items to refugee camps and others in need around the world.

UNIQLO began a fleece recycling campaign in Japan in September 2001 as part of its corporate social responsibility activities. The project expanded to include all UNIQLO products in 2006 and was titled the All-Product Recycling Initiative.

Initially the company intended to recycle clothing for industrial use. However, most of the items received from customers were still wearable, so UNIQLO shifted its focus from recycling to reusing.

Through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other organizations, the company began donating collected items to refugee and IDP (internally displaced persons) camps throughout the world.

Over the last five years, UNIQLO has provided 4.23 million items to refugees and survivors of disasters, and has offered support to pregnant women and single mothers.

UNIQLO customers can recycle any item purchased in the store by returning them (washed) to the store or other designated drop-off locations.

UNIQLO has one store in New York City and two more opening later this year. The All-Product Recycling program is now available in Japan, Korea, UK, France and the US, and the company says it intends to eventually establish the program in all countries of operation.

"We believe it is our corporate social responsibility to maximize the value and usefulness of the truly great clothing we produce by collecting, reusing and recycling all of our products," UNIQLO says.

Read a detailed account of the reuse initiative and its effects in the community:

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