Editor’s Note: This is a new weekly column by the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Framingham. Residents can submit questions to Recycling Coordinator Stephen Sarnosky via SOURCE at editor@FraminghamSource.com
FRAMINGHAM: When it comes to getting rid of old and unwanted clothing most people realize that these items probably have an afterlife but aren’t really sure how to dispose of them?
As a result, items such as coats, blankets, shoes and socks, and textile items such as luggage, bedsheets and bath towels tend to end up in a refuse container to be hauled away and buried in a landfill somewhere.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, up to 6% of all material going into landfills or burn facilities are considered to be clothing and textiles.
In this regard, the City of Framingham may have disposed of 788 tons of textiles in 2017.
In this same period, the City recovered 51 tons of textiles using its clothing and textile recovery program.
The Department of Public Works, Framingham has had a long-standing clothing and textile recovery program in place and this program has paid dividends over the years. Dividends in the way of reduced refuse and recycling tonnage.
Some Framingham Public Schools also provide a way for recycling conscience people to put their used clothing to good use.
Did you know that clothing and textile donations, in all but the worst of conditions, are accepted by clothing recyclers?
Clothing and textiles are considered a commodity and sold on the open market after they have been sorted and graded and bailed. Clothing with rips, tears, stains and missing pieces are accepted and recycled into all kinds of useful products such as rags and wiping clothes and insulation material.
However, wet, moldy, and items that are stained with grease, oils and hazardous material are not useful and should be thrown away.
How much of your donated clothing go to a well deserving person?
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) about 45% of all donated clothing and textiles go to secondhand apparel retailers.
Any items that do not sell will be bailed and sold to exporters and recycled into usable products.
Where Can You Recycle Unwanted Clothing and Textiles?
The Department of Public Works has two programs whereby residents can recycle their items.
The first is located at the Recycling Drop-Off Center located at 255 Mt Wayte Ave, Framingham and is operated by Bay State Textiles. If you use the Center, you will be asked to purchase a permit that is good for the
calendar year. However, the permit has many other benefits including use of the leaf dump, recycling, and limited trash disposal.
Your second option would be to use the “Pink Bag” curbside clothing and
textile recovery initiative, which is operated by Zero Waste-Simply Recycling. This is an easy and convenient way for residents to help the City reduce both its solid waste and recycling costs.
Both of these for-profit organizations contribute a portion of their profits to the Framingham High School’s Scholarship Awards Program. In this regard, the scholarship is awarded to a Framingham High School Senior whose academic endeavors are geared towards environmental studies.
In May of 2019, DPW awarded $3,138.
Residents and non-residents alike who want to know more about recycling clothing and textiles can go to MassDEP’s Beyond the Bin Directory.
Someone would like to know how to recycle rugs and asked: “We have a polypropylene outdoor rug which is no longer useful and I would like to dispose it in the best way possible.”
You can simply place the rug into your curbside trash cart with the lid closed.
If it is too big, for a fee you may arrange for a curbside pickup by visiting the DPW Sanitation Division website.
Submit questions by emailing editor@FraminghamSource.com