CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Recyclers and upcyclers across the Mountain State are busy exercising their creative powers in anticipation of Recycling Coalition of West Virginia’s 12th annual Re-Fashion Show at 1 p.m. Saturday in Macy’s Court at Charleston Town Center Mall. Registration begins at 11 a.m.
“We’ve had as many as 68 participants. We do have people who participate every year,” said Carol Throckmorton, chief of recycling market development and planning for the state Solid Waste Management Board.
Statewide participation occurs from art and science classes, 4-H clubs, Girl Scout troops and environmental groups. Individuals and home-schooled children also participate.
Throckmorton said that some of the regularly participating groups are from Brooke, Fayette, Mineral and Roane counties.
“The objective is to promote recycling in a fun, creative way but to also promote the buying of recycled products in order to close the recycling loop,” Throckmorton said.
That loop is closed when discarded materials are used in making another reusable product.
Upcycling is a special type of recycling. It turns cast-off material or an unwanted product into a better-quality product.
“Besides the obvious environmental benefits — saving energy, for example — recycling one aluminum can saves the energy equivalent of one cup of gasoline. For some statistical info, according to the recycling surveys received from the 50 solid waste authorities around the state, 33,576 tons of recyclable material was collected in 2013.
“If those material were not captured, they would have been landfilled. With an average tipping fee of $45.61 at state landfills, that represents a savings of $1,577,011 in tipping fees. In addition, those same authorities received $1,947,397 in revenue from the sale of those recyclables,” Throckmorton said.
Recycling and upcycling occur for two primary reasons: It’s good for the environment, and it’s financially rewarding.
In the case of the Re-Fashion Show, it’s both — with the bonus of encouraging creativity. It can be a fun hobby that’s also an opportunity to teach children about green living.
“This is a no-holds-barred project. It allows participants to think outside the box. The recycling bin and landfill have endless possibilities,” Throckmorton said, noting that duct tape is not a recycled material but may be used sparingly.
The Re-Fashion Show is open to any West Virginia resident. There is no registration fee. All participants enter into age-based categories — 13 and under and 14 and over — for a chance to win one of three overall prizes for each age group. Overall winners in each age category will receive $250 for first place, $200 for second, and $150 for third.
Participants may enter one of four categories: Coca-Cola Challenge, Charleston Town Center Mall Shopping Theme, Charleston Newspapers Challenge and General Theme.
One winner will be chosen from each of the categories. Themed category winners will each receive one $50 Charleston Town Center Mall gift card.
“We have had kids walk out with a couple of hundred bucks in gift cards,” Throckmorton said.
“Adults can participate, and we have had their participation. We didn’t have categories in the beginning, but, over time, it just didn’t seem fair to have a kid of 7 that worked on their outfit alone complete with a 16-year-old,” Throckmorton said.
“Wearable art is always a welcome sight on any runway, especially if it features recyclable materials. We applaud the recycled fashion designs produced each year by West Virginia teens,” said Lisa McCracken, marketing director for the Charleston Town Center Mall, which hosts the event every year.
The Recycling Coalition of West Virginia is a nonprofit environmental organization whose mission is to promote the effective and sustainable reduction, reuse and recycling of materials otherwise destined for disposal.
For additional contest information, call 304-926-0448 or visit wvrecycles.com. A parental consent form as well as photographs of previous winners are available on the website.
Reach Judy E. Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-1230 or follow @JudyEHamilton on Twitter.