Thrift Shop and second hand store rejects are getting a second chance thanks to a new textile recycling program at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center. Old worn out t-shirts, towels and blankets with holes, ill-fitting clothing, and running and hiking shoes that have lost their spring might have ended up in the landfill. Now they’re being collected at the Solid Waste Center and diverted back into the ‘reuse’ market.
“We’re partnering with USAgain out of Denver, a green for-profit enterprise committed to reducing textile waste by putting them back in the use cycle to not only preserve landfill space but conserve precious natural resources and prevent greenhouse gas emissions,” said Cathy Hall, Pitkin County Landfill Manager.
The US EPA estimates a whopping 12 million tons of textile waste goes into U.S. landfills each year. Approximately 1,600 tons of textiles end up in the Pitkin County Landfill annually.
“This equates to 4.3% of our total waste stream,” added Hall. “By diverting this waste we save landfill space, reduce carbon emissions, and find a beneficial second life for these items.”
The County’s textile recycling program will accept clothing, linens, blankets, towels, gloves and hats, purses, backpacks, belts, shoes and boots. Items in good, reusable condition will find their way to the secondary resale markets. Items that do not have a direct reuse will end up being recycled and converted into shop rags, insulation, or recycled into fiber to be made into new textiles.
“The intention of the program is not compete with the thrift stores in the Valley,” said Cathy Hall, “We want to provide an outlet to capture those textiles and shoes that are not suitable for resale in those outlets. We will work closely with thrift stores to provide a recycling option for them, and remove the burden of handling textile materials they cannot sell.” Hall added, “We can also help reduce their costs and further their mission by giving them a free, local option to recycle what they are currently paying to throw away.”
According to Nick Thompson, of USAgain Denver, “By putting textiles back in the use cycle we conserve precious natural resources, prevent greenhouse gas emissions and save landfill space. What's more, the clothes are given a second life at affordable prices for people who can't afford brand new clothes.”
Unwanted textiles and shoes can be taken, free of charge, to the Pitkin County Landfill during operating hours (Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 4:15pm and Saturday 9am to 11:45am). Shoes must be in pairs, and separate from the textiles. Textiles can be bagged in clear bags, or deposited loose in collection bins. Rugs and carpeting are not accepted.
For more information contact the Pitkin County Landfill at (970) 429-2880 or visit our webpage at www.Landfillrules.com.