Rag News: December 2020

The invaluable SMART Membership

Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, also known as SMART, is a trade organization that strengthens the economic opportunities of their diverse membership, by promoting the interdependence of the for-profit textile recycling industry. SMART was founded in 1932 and composed of companies from all over the world who are involved in every phase of their diverse industry. They take pride in being the leading industry voice, promoting high standards and best practices for reuse and recycling of textiles and related secondary materials. All member companies of SMART acquire both pre and post consumer textiles; reducing solid waste, by collecting, reclaiming and closing the loop into a more circular economy. As a result, SMART is able to provide its members with support and networking opportunities to help grow their business. 

Investing in a SMART membership can bring many successes and benefits to your business, including the opportunity to connect and network with many of the leading players in the industry. The association provides an array of programs and services designed specifically with the needs of the textile reuse and recycling industry in mind. The membership supplies with resources for Education, Networking and Business Development at your disposal.

In addition, SMART provides a voice and a point of contact on all legislative and regulatory issues impacting the entire industry. Furthermore, SMART’s website provides sponsorship opportunities for members to help promote their business to the public and other members. SMART believes it is crucial to share the work and benefits  the  textile  recycling industry  has on the  economy and environment  overall.  For  this reason, they focus on establishing relationships with Government  officials and agencies in order to advocate on  behalf of its members.


Bank & Vogue has been a proud member of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association for several years. Throughout the years, the association has advocated for the industry as a whole and been a key part in helping its members through some turbulent and uncertain times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SMART kept its members aware of all the updates in the market and advocated to Governments on behalf of the association as a whole. Moreover, after the lockdown and as markets began to open up, the association adapted and hosted an online conference to replace the yearly in person conferences that would take place. Throughout the conference many leading players in the industry, all which are members of the association, were able to educate everyone on key practices on how they survived the lockdown and continue to operate. They shared their experiences and the lessons they learned through the most uncertain time we have seen in centuries. Least to say, this year more than ever the conference became a place where like minded individuals could connect, network and share their experiences in order to learn from each other.

The SMART membership is an invaluable resource and a great investment for any company in the industry. The amount of wisdom and knowledge that companies receive from all members, will aid your business and help it grow and become successful. To learn more and sign up to the SMART membership, click here.

Having a Sustainable Christmas!


Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, it is a time to gather and celebrate. However, it is one of the most wasteful times of the year, creating a rise in the volume of waste materials being produced and disposed of. It is expected that between mid-November to mid-January, the average population generates about 25% more garbage than during the rest of the year. The reason being that people buy more stuff over the holiday season, which cannot be recycled. Which is why it is so important to continue to donate during this holiday season. A total of 6 million trees are said to be discarded every year after Christmas; since many people would discard their artificial trees, rather than reuse them or donate them to charities. In addition, immense amounts of food and drinks are wasted and disposed of over the holidays. The amount of energy used during the holidays is significantly more than any other time during the year, in order to power all the lights and decorations. This is why it is so important to try to find a home for Christmas Bric Brac and second-hand clothing in International Markets, which Bank & Vogue is able to help with.

A study was done in the UK, stating that 58% of adults plan on making this their most sustainable Christmas ever. The study revealed how many plan on gifting sustainably this year, with 70% purchasing gifts made from eco-friendly materials and half pledging to buy second-hand or refurbished Christmas gifts. 

That being said, it is possible to have a more sustainable Christmas holiday by changing the way we do Christmas overall. There are many ways to reduce waste during the Christmas season, from buying second-hand gifts to using recyclable wrapping paper. One of the most impactful ways to make this holiday season more sustainable is by buying more sustainable and environmentally friendly gifts. This is  because gifts are such an important part of the Christmas tradition and therefore, can make a huge difference when becoming more sustainable. There are many options for gifting sustainably, as thrift stores become more and more popular, it becomes more acceptable to gift second hand clothing or items. Another option is to purchase gifts made from eco-friendly or recycled materials.

Join thousands of people making this their most sustainable Christmas ever, by adapting one or all of these options into your family’s Christmas tradition.

Keeping those in need warm this Winter


The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is a non-profit Catholic organization, whose mission is to serve the poor with love, respect, justice and joy. In addition to their mission they come together as a family to help people in all possible ways. The society was first founded in 1833 in Paris, France; since then it has expanded to 153 countries around the world and helps those in need within their local communities. Today the society has about 800,000 members worldwide, whose members operate through “conferences”. A conference may be based out of a church, school, community centre or hospital.

As the cooler months approach in Canada and the Northern United States, St. Vincent de Paul is asking the community to donate new or gently used winter coats to help those in need through their annual Coat Drive. Organizers said the COVID-19 pandemic has made the year especially difficult for some families, making this coat drive more important than ever. Donating a coat you no longer use or buying a new one can make a big impact on someone’s life, keeping someone warm throughout this winter. There is a particular need for children and plus size adult coats this year. Although the collection is primarily for coats, SVDP is also accepting all monetary donations. 

Collections are limited to designated drop off locations, due to COVID-19 restrictions. These locations have safety protocols in place to make every donation safe and contact-free. To make a donation, ensure to check out the SVDP website for all donation details and protocols. In the same way, traditional coat distributions will be different this year to minimize COVID-19 exposures. SVDP will issue vouchers for coats which can be used at any of their thrift stores until February 2021.


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