Recycling Dilemma #1010 – Textiles

Landfills received 11.3 million tons of textiles in 2018 and that number is only growing. Turn your rags into resources by recycling clothing unsuited for donation to a textile recycler. 

Fashion trends come and go and when they do, your pile of last season’s cast-offs mount. Conscientious citizens donate these to their favorite charity for a shot at a new life with a new owner. But what to do if your used stuff isn’t up to snuff?

Always give pre-loved, gently worn clothing, furniture and home goods a new home before considering recycling or disposal. Check out the Township’s Donation Guide for a list of local donation centers with easy pickup and drop off options. If you frequent one of these organizations, ask them if they recycle their leftover textiles. Some locations accept scrap fabric and overly worn items separate from your good items and are able to make a profit selling their scrap to a recycler.

Bypass the landfill and turn your old rags into re-usable textile fibers that just might turn into next season’s must-haves.

It’s simple to schedule a pickup of worn textiles and home goods from the comfort of your home. Fill a kitchen bag with worn clothes, towels, and bedding – no matter the condition – and schedule pickup at your front door. Voila – instant recycling!

When you recycle textiles, you help the environment by…

…minimizing landfill footprint

Landfills serve their purpose but they’re lousy for the environment and a burden to taxpayers. Making room for our trash is expensive—never mind the loss of land set aside for this purpose.

Did you know? Every 2000 lbs. of clothing that’s kept out of the landfill has the same environmental impact as removing 2 cars from the road.

reducing greenhouse gasses

A landfill is a hotbed of carbon dioxide and methane. Decomposing textiles ramp up those methane levels —the most significant contributor to climate change.

…conserving water and reducing chemical waste

Nearly every step of textile production depends on water—water that’s loaded with dyes and chemicals. The industrial waste byproduct is a major watershed pollutant in countries that lack environmental regulation.

Did you know? It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans and 600 gallons to make that t-shirt you’re wearing.

It’s easy to be green and recycle textiles at your door!

If your items aren’t in good enough condition to donate, schedule a recycling pickup with a local textile recycling company such as Green City Recycler. Just follow the steps below.


Simple Recycling Cancels Curbside Service in The Woodlands

Automatic curbside pickup of textiles in The Woodlands will end on November 20, 2020. Citing financial impacts from COVID-19, Simple Recycling is ceasing weekly curbside service in The Woodlands as well as similar operations in more than 30 cities and towns across Texas. Since 2017, The Woodlands Township has contracted with Simple Recycling to provide residential curbside collection and recycling of textiles and small household goods.  

Also known as the “Orange Bag Program,” Simple Recycling’s collections diverted over 60 tons of material annually away from the landfill, at no cost to the Township. Currently, no other companies in Texas provide no-call curbside textile collection and recycling.  

Although automatic weekly service has been cancelled, there are several local charitable organizations where you can request curbside pickup or drop off usable textiles and small household goods. For a list of locations and contact information, check out the Donation Guide. Unusable textiles, such as rags or torn or stained clothing, should be placed in the trash or repurposed, never placed in the recycle cart. 

For more information on recycling opportunities in The Woodlands, please contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281.210.3800, or by email to enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Give new life to old stuff

The “ooo’s” and “ahhh’s” from unwrapping gifts are over. Now it’s time to make room for your new electronics, toys and all those great socks your Aunt gave you. In your excitement to remove the old and put up the new, throwing away your old items may first come to mind. Instead, consider donating them to a local charitable organization. Although an item may have outlived its usefulness for you, it could still be useful to someone else before wasting away in a landfill.

Donate usable items graphic

Donate

Give a second life to your clean, gently-used clothing, housewares, toys, furniture and appliances by donating them to local charitable organizations. Items should be in good, usable condition. Check out The Woodlands Donation Guide for a list of local organizations accepting donations. Some organizations are able to pick up items or offer convenient drop-off locations. If you have an item that is not specified in the guide, call first to assure it is accepted.

Donate More Guide December 2018

Recycle

Not all items are suitable for donation. Sometimes clothing and housewares are past the point of repair such as stained rags, threadbare linens, ripped clothing, worn out shoes, etc. These items shouldn’t be donated as they can’t be used by the organization and end up being thrown away. If you have overly worn items such as these and are a resident of The Woodlands with curbside trash service, you may recycle these items through the Simple Recycling Program. Simply put unusable textiles in the designated orange bag and put them beside your carts for collection on your designated service day. ***As of November 20, 2020, Simple Recycling’s curbside service has been cancelled. To read the press release, view here.

simple recycling bags

For items that can’t be donated, but can be recycled, consult the Recycle More Guide. Here you’ll find all local recycling opportunities for items such as electronics, paints, batteries, appliances, household chemicals, plastic bags and film, Styrofoam and more. Please note that these items can be recycled through these special collections, not the yellow lid curbside carts.

To learn more about recycling, visit the  Recycling page on the Township website.