Reuse, repair, recycle, upcycle – every day brings a new list of ways to reduce your carbon footprint and conserve resources. Most of us are happy to toss our plastic bottles and cereal boxes into a nearby bin – but Americans still produce three pounds of unrecycled garbage per person every day.
Part of the problem is that we don’t often see the end results of our efforts. Would we be more enthusiastic about recycling if we knew our trash was being used to produce something beautiful, useful or innovative? Maybe.
Make It Right is a non-profit organization building sustainable homes for people in need around the United States. Founded by Brad Pitt, Make It Right began by building homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. Today Make It Right works across the country – from apartments for disabled veterans in New Jersey to single-family homes for Native American families in Montana.
Founder of Make It Right, Brad Pitt
And some of the products people recycle every day around the country end up in Make It Right homes. The countertops in the kitchens and bathrooms are made of 75% recycled content – things like glass bottles and broken porcelain dishes. Carpet is made of recycled carpet – and is recycled into new carpet when its reached the end of its use in a home. In some homes, Make It Right uses drywall made of recycled paper.
A countertop made of recycled material
Together these products make well-designed, green homes for people in need of a safe place to live. When you choose to toss a bottle or a magazine into the recycling bin, your trash could end up helping build a home for a young person transitioning out of foster care, senior citizen, single mom, firefighter or veteran.
Families enjoying quality time together in their new home
New homes made possible by Make It Right
For Earth Day 2015, AEO is helping customers turn their old jeans into new homes. Used denim jeans can be turned into safe, sustainable insulation for homes. Better insulation increases energy-efficiency, leading to lower power bills for people in need.
More than 22.3 billion pounds of unwanted clothing, shoes and other textiles end up in U.S. landfills annually – 22.3 billion pounds! Wouldn’t you rather your favorite old jeans end up keeping someone’s home warm at night than ending up in a smelly pile of trash? Those jeans served you well – they deserve better!
It takes about 2.5 pairs of jeans to make a square foot of denim insulation. So grab your old jeans – and a friend – and bring them to your local American Eagle Outfitters store to start their new life. Even better, AEO will give you 20% off a new pair of jeans when you donate your old ones. Win-win, right?
This Earth Day your recycling effort really does make a difference to hundreds of families around the country.