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Donate Old Clothing to Reduce Solid Waste in Your Community

With fall’s arrival, you may soon find yourself sorting through your clothes, swapping the lighter summerwear for the more insulating layers of fall. But you may realize that your favorite flannels and comfiest sweatshirts aren’t really holding up anymore. 

As you come to realize that it’s time to part ways with some of your favored fabrics, you may decide that someone else could get some much-needed use out of them. So you bring these items to your local Goodwill, charity shop, or drop them in a donation bin, right?

You assume you can donate most of it – but other items seem to be fated for the trash, including those that have holes, tears, and stains.

But you shouldn’t throw those items away! They can be converted into other fabrics or repurposed. According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, of the 230,000 tons of textiles that are disposed of annually in Massachusetts, 95% could be reused, repurposed or recycled, rather than ending up in our already overflowing landfills.

To keep textiles out of landfills, donate them to charity—regardless of their condition. In some communities, you can even place them in a bag and leave them at the curb with your regular trash and recycling.

Companies such as Simple Recycling, which can now be found in several Massachusetts communities, can take it away for you, free of charge.

Another option is to ask your local veterinarians clinics or animal shelters if they could use the excess cloth for their day-to-day operations to help keep animals warm and comfortable during the colder months.

There are numerous ways to give new life to well-loved clothing items, from donations to charity for the more gently used ones, or to companies like Simple Recycling for the more heavily worn, torn, and battered fabric items.

It’s easier now than ever to prevent your clothes, towels, sheets and many other items from ending up in a landfill.

Learn more about the MASSDEP textile recycling program