STRATFORD — Stratford is partnering with Simple Recycling to provide residents with a free curbside textile recycling service to make the town more green.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 85 pounds of textile items per person per year — old clothes, shoes, belts and handbags — end up in a landfill or incinerator.
The new program aims to make it easier for people to dispose of unwanted items in an environmentally friendly way, its supporters said.
Simple Recycling will provide residents with pink bags that they can fill and place at the curb on their regular recycling collection day.
The bags may be filled with used or new clothing, boots and shoes, belts and ties, handbags, hats and gloves, toys, towels, sheets and blankets and small kitchen appliances.
A full list of accepted items can be found on the company’s website, simplerecycling.com.
If a resident does not have a pink bag, they may use a regular garbage bag clearly marked for Simple Recycling instead.
When the Simple Recycling truck picks up the recycling, they will leave additional bags behind for future use. Residents can also request bags on the company’s website.
The Ohio-based for-profit company serves more than 4 million households across eight states and is used by 23 other towns and cities in Connecticut.
Milford launched its own program on July 10.
Stratford’s textile recycling concept originated with the town’s Green Task Force which included Mayor Laura Hoydick and Councilor Bill O’Brien, as well as state representatives Ben McGorty, R-122, and Joe Gresko, D-121.
“I’ve been an advocate for recycling for so many years and … there’s more need, now more than ever, to reduce and reuse,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien said that the task force had wanted to start the program earlier but had to wait for Simple Recycling to open a facility in Stamford that would be able to handle the influx of textile items.
All of the materials Simple Recycling picks up are graded and sorted regionally based on quality and condition.
The top quality materials will be resold to local thrift outlets; mid-grade items are exported to international markets.
Unusable items are processed for raw materials.
“This ultimately results in a more environmentally responsible handling of discarded textiles as well as significant cost-savings to the town,” said Hoydick.
The town recovers $20 per ton of textiles through the program. It would otherwise spend $63 per ton to burn the materials, said O’Brien.
For more information about the Simple Recycling program, residents can call the Department of Public Works at 203-385-4080.