Option to recycle textiles, such as old clothing, is available now. Each year, Massachusetts residents throw away 230,000 tons of textiles, while 95 per cent of this waste can be recycled or reused in some manner. The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, Council of Textile Recycling and Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection are launching a statewide textile recycling initiative in Massachusetts to encourage residents to reduce the amount of clothing and other textiles they throw away.
Across the state, Municipalities will promote textile recycling at the community level. Local recycling coordinators will facilitate textile collections and educational events throughout the year to raise awareness of textiles as a household recyclable.
While textile items cannot be placed in curbside collections with other household recyclables, for-profit, thrift and charitable organizations alike accept donations and begin the textile recycling process. These organisations accept any fabric-based items that are clean and dry, including unwanted and damaged clothing, towels and linens, footwear, belts, hats, accessories, handbags, pillows, stuffed animals and more.
According to SMART, approximately 45 per cent of textiles in the recycling stream are reused as secondhand clothing, both in retail storefronts and in mass in developing countries. Companies like a SMART member, ERC Wiping Products in Lynn, Massachusetts, convert another 30 per cent of textiles to industrial rags. The remaining 20 per cent is sent to textile converters who remanufacture textile fibers into other products, such as automotive and housing insulation, carpet padding and sound dampening products.