Solid Waste & Recycling Magazine


Leading uniform maker donates leftover textiles for charity bag project


Well-known uniform manufacturer Cintas Corporation has partnered with Know Hope, a Cincinnati-based non-profit, to reuse leftover material from the uniforms to help families in Mexico, Africa, Haiti and Guatemala.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 21 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste ends up in landfills each year. In an effort to mitigate the problem, Cintas will donate its leftover uniform material to line reusable burlap bags sold by the charity. Funds from the bags will be used to purchase products and provide services to families in Mexico, Africa, Haiti and Guatemala, Cintas said.

“The average U.S. citizen throws away 70 pounds of textiles each year, but corporations also have a responsibility to help divert this waste from landfills,” said Melanie Boyle, Cintas manager of sustainability. “This partnership is a win-win because we’re supporting a local non-profit in their mission to make the world a better place while maintaining Cintas’ commitment to both sustainability and being a good corporate citizen in the communities in which we do business.”

Each day, more than five million employees go to work in a Cintas uniform. The material from one work uniform, including the Cintas Kenton Shirt, can be used to line each Know Hope bag. Know Hope produced approximately 4,300 bags and 2,500 smaller accessories in 2013. The most recent donation of material from Cintas will go towards funding Know Hope’s first Orphan Adoption Grant through Show Hope.

Through donations and profits from sales of the bags, Know Hope has been able to provide services to multiple ministries and organizations around the world. Its work includes:

  • Building an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico and making improvements to an orphanage in Guatemala
  • Providing breakfast programs for the Lo Mejor del Trigo ministry in Tijuana, Mexico
  • Purchasing and distributing 100 heavy blankets for people living in shanty towns in Tijuana, Mexico
  • Providing food packs for people in Africa and Haiti

“When I started Know Hope, I had no money to invest so I had to make it happen one bag sale at a time,” said Connie Baker, founder of Know Hope. “The textile donations from Cintas are going to allow us to produce a steady supply of bags and make a big impact on families who are less fortunate.”

For more information about Cintas’ sustainability initiatives, please visit For more information on Know Hope, please visit