Avon Lake residents can recycle clothes, other household items soon

AVON LAKE — Avon Lake residents will soon have a new way to discard of unwanted clothing, without the worry of sending extra trash to rot in a landfill.

Simple Recycling will be available in the city starting July 16, giving residents a more eco-conscious way to dispose of household items like clothing, bedding and dishes. Free to residents and the city, trucks from Simple Recycling will stop on regular garbage days and collected items bagged in their provided green or orange bags from the curb.

“You make the call to them, they bring the bag(s) to you and you place them out with regular trash and they come through city every Monday (to collect them),” Avon Lake Public Works Director Joseph Reitz explained.

Reitz said the city opted into the program after a vote by City Council in April. The city was contacted by Simple Recyling, and talked to other cities including Bay Village and North Ridgeville, which already have the program, and Republic Services, which provides the city’s regular trash collection. He said Republic Services agrees with Simple Recycling’s program, which keeps these articles out of landfills.

Bill Wilk, municipal representative for Northeast Ohio and part of Michigan for Simple Recycling, explained the items collected by Simple Recycling are split into three categories.

The first, which includes items of the best quality, are sent to Value World — a thrift store chain the company has a partnership with. The second-best items are collected and sent to developing nations. And the items that aren’t wearable or useable in their original state are recycled into other items including shop rags and stuffing for car seats.

“The United States generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textiles (thrown away) per year and 85 percent of that goes into the landfills,” he said. “Clothing and household textiles currently make up 5.2 percent of the waste in landfills and any textile item … can be recycled.”

Wilk stressed while the company partners with a thrift store and provides textile items in economically stressed areas, it is not a nonprofit, and is not in competition with local charities like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Simple Recycling makes a profit by charging Value World for the items they take, and by charging a fee for items sent overseas and those sent to other recycling companies.

“We are not a charitable organization, we are a recycling company,” he said. “Right now to the best of my knowledge, we’re the only company in the area that offers that service … we eliminate hundreds of tons of material from going into the landfill every year.”

He said the city will get a rebate for everything the company picks up in Avon Lake — at a penny per pound.

“Every time our truck returns from a city and it gets loaded, every single bag is weighed and the municipalities receive a check once a month,” he said.

Leading up to the program’s start in Avon Lake, residents will receive mailings from the company detailing what items it will and will not collect, along with two orange bags to collect items in. For additional bags, residents can call toll-free at (866) 835-5068 and have them mailed.

While the service has yet to start in Avon Lake, Wilk said they’ve received positive feedback from the cities and residents who already are using the program.

“Not only are the municipalities happy, we get calls from residents commending us for our service, the fact that we’re keeping all this material out of landfills,” he said.

Contact Carissa Woytach at 440-329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.