‘Pink bag’ textile recycling to start

‘Pink bag’ textile recycling to start

VERNON — The town will start collecting clothing and other recyclable textiles through its contract with Simple Recycling on Dec. 3, town officials said today.

Public Works Director Robert Kleinhans and Town Administrator Michael Purcaro said that collection efforts for the new program will begin this week with residents receiving their first bags in the mail. Those pink bags are to be filled with clothing, shoes, jewelry, cloth toys, blankets, coats and jackets and a wide variety of additional items that are typically thrown in the trash.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates 85 percent of clothing is thrown away in refuse barrels, Purcaro said. Simple Recycling will help the town reduce its waste in that regard. Residents throw away tons of clothing items per year, a fate that will be avoided through Simple Recycling, he said.

The town’s agreement with Simple Recycling is at no cost to residents or the town. Simple Recycling pays for the collected items, then, depending on their quality, either sells them to charitable organizations, donates them to developing nations, or processes them into raw materials.

After residents receive their bags this week and load them up, they should place them curbside, but not in their recycling bins. Kleinhans said the bags should be placed slightly away from the recycling bins so equipment can properly collect recycled materials.

Kleinhans said Vernon is adding Simple Recycling as it’s in the middle of an effort to re-educate the public about what can and can’t be thrown away and recycled. He said that a lot of people want to do a lot of good, but try to recycle items that can’t be processed, which costs the town.

Single-stream recycling is becoming more stringent, he said, and the town has to pay when items can’t be recycled.

Purcaro said in October that the town has to pay twice when items are wrongly recycled. It has to pay a fee for recycling plant staff to remove the items from the recycling stream and it’s also losing money from the town’s tonnage rebate, as it receives funds for every ton of collected recycling.

According to Simple Recycling’s website, 14.3 million tons of clothing enters landfills annually. Town officials hope textile-recycling efforts will help reduce that figure.

Residents in Vernon have already received informational postcards on the new program, Kleinhans said.

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