Non-Recyclable Item of the Month: Textiles

Although textiles aren’t recyclable in our co-mingled recycling at ORS, they should not be thrown in the trash.

A staggering 95% of textiles like clothes, shoes, and linens thrown in the garbage could be reused or recycled! In 2013 alone, Americans discarded 15.1 million tons of clothing and other textiles, and 85 percent of that wound up in landfills.

That’s a bad thing, and not just because your old clothes could have been reused or recycled rather than being stuck in the ground. Textiles don’t just lie in the landfill forever. They decompose. As they do, they release landfill gas, a toxic brew of air pollutants that includes the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. But there is something you can do to help!

When the new Exchange opens in 2017, we will accept textiles for reuse and recycling. In the meantime, take your unwanted (gently used) clothes to one of the consignment shops on the island for reuse. Or, drop them off at Kaleidoscope Preschool and Childcare Center in Eastsound. Kaleidoscope accepts textile donations and takes them to Value Village where they can get proceeds for each pound of textiles they donate.

Many reuse organizations like Value Village, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army want all your clothes, shoes, and linens for reuse or recycling – even damaged items – in any condition except wet, mildewed or contaminated with hazardous materials.