‘Unloved’ textiles get a second life through recycling program

Shirts, sheets, and even shoes now accepted at Lower Mainland Return-It Depots

B.C. residents now have a convenient way to drop off their old or ‘unloved’ clothing items, which currently comprises approximately five per cent of the region’s municipal solid waste.

Based on the success of a pilot project launched earlier this year, the initiative has been expanded from 13 to 32 depot locations in the Lower Mainland.

Allen Langdon, president and CEO of Return-It, said the overwhelming abundance of discarded clothing inspired the new program.

“The average adult throws out about 81 pounds of clothing and other textiles every year,” Langdon explained. “In Metro Vancouver alone, 40,000 tonnes of textiles end up in the landfill annually, making up approximately five per cent of the region’s municipal solid waste. Those numbers provide a clear rationale for our new expanded program.”

Return-It has partnered with used clothing trader Bank & Vogue to pursue a shared mandate of diverting waste from landfill.

READ MORE: Vancouver allows ‘safe’ clothing donation bins back onto private property

Items collected through the program are distributed to reuse organizations within Western Canada.

Accepted items include a wide range of clothing, shoes and household textiles such as blankets and towels.

“Most of us have unused clothing taking up space at home,” Langdon added. “Now, more B.C. residents can conveniently recycle textiles while they’re returning refundable beverage containers and other items. I’m optimistic we’ll be able to continue to expand the program across the province.”

During the last seven months, Return-It collected 1,640 bags of textiles – weighing over 26 metric tonnes – as part of the program to help breathe new life into old garments

For a list of Return-It depots and centres that accept textiles, people can visit return-it.ca/locations/textiles

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