Curbside Clothes Recycling a Hit in Rhode Island

A new service for recycling clothes makes it easier to declutter and curtail waste headed to the landfill. Simple Recycling, based in Solon, Ohio, offers a unique curbside pickup service for unwanted clothing — and a bunch of other items that can’t go in recycling bins. Groups such as The Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters have drop-off bins and pick up of used clothes, but Simple Recycling makes it a bit less complicated by collecting on the same day and in the same spot on the curb as your regular recycling. Once it partners with a community, the company encourages participation by mailing colored collection bags to all residences. New bags are delivered each time full ones are collected.

The service is free and the host community receives a nominal monthly payments based on the tonnage collected. Simple Recycling started in 2014 and now operates in nine states. Nine communities in Connecticut and 37 in Massachusetts offer the service to their residents. Within the past year, four Rhode Island Island communities — Bristol, Coventry, Middletown, and North Providence — joined the service, and they all seem pleased. “It’s working out awesome. Our residents absolutely love it,” said Jackie Anthony, recycling coordinator in Coventry.

Residents in Middletown are pleased with the program since collection began last December, according to Will Cronin, the town’s recycling coordinator. “Stuff is being diverted (from the waste stream) and that’s the name of the game,” Cronin said. Like other textile recycling services and owners of drop-off boxes, Simple Recycling’s only role in the recycling process is shipping what it collects to sorting facilities. The company is compensated based on the weight of clothing it collects.

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