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Free Prom & Homecoming dresses for Chicago-area high school ladies:

USAgain, a clothes & shoes recycling company, is holding a special event on August 19 at their West Chicago division office. 

At the Homecoming Goes Green event, we'll be giving away over 500 like-new and gently-used prom and homecoming dresses we've received during our collection process. Instead of sending these beautiful dresses to be recycled, we though we'd let local high school girls come and take one home!

More details are available on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/USAgain) where students can reserve a place on the day of the event.

In an article published in The Huffington Post, USAgain LLC Chief Executive Officer Mattias Wallander explains that the production of clothing is a resource-intensive process with a heavy environmental cost. The method involves transportation, water, electricity, and chemical use across each of the five stages of the clothing’s product cycle. USAgain is a for-profit company with a goal of expanding the life cycle of clothing by increasing its re-use.

USAgain’s recycling efforts have a positive environmental aspect. Since cotton production is extremely water-intensive, an estimated 700 gallons go into the farming of enough cotton to make a single cotton t-shirt, and cotton has also gained recognition as the single most pesticide-intensive crop. According to USAgain, the creation of synthetic fibers requires either a petroleum or wood base, both of which use chemicals extensively to process the raw material into a fiber. USAgain notes that the chemicals pollute the air and water, creating hazardous conditions for the local population. In addition, the extraction methods for the wood or petroleum are detrimental to the environment. USAgain strives to minimize the production of textiles by collecting and reselling used clothing for reuse or recycling. By keeping the clothing in circulation, USAgain reduces the environmental impact of transporting raw materials and finished goods. The United States is the world’s largest exporter of raw cotton and the greatest importer of clothing, while China is the leading exporter of clothing. This arrangement uses resources, particularly oil, which add to the overall environmental cost of apparel. For example, a single cotton t-shirt uses 1.34 liters of oil throughout its product cycle. USAgain notes that every year, people throw out 56 pounds of clothing per person, on average. USAgain is a for-profit company founded in 1999. Since its inception, USAgain has recycled over 420 million articles of clothing. The business currently collects approximately 1 million pounds of clothing a week from over 10,000 of its distinctive green-and-white bins. USAgain conducts business in 15 states and is looking to expand through partnerships with property management companies, retailers, municipalities, schools, and churches.