Wanted: your old socks – textiles can be recycled, too

by | Jun 5, 2017

By Amy Sullivan, Recycling Coordinator and Virginia Marchant, Solid Waste Advisory Committee

Did you know that 95% of all textiles can be recycled or reused? You may think that nobody wants your old unmatched socks or stained shirts, but there are some who do! Many organizations raise funds for charity and/or make money from your discarded clothing and other textiles.

According to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), approximately 45% of used textiles are used for second hand apparel; 30% become wiping and polishing cloths; and 20% are reprocessed (recycled) into new materials such as insulation and carpet padding. Only five percent of textiles are unusable.

So, what is a textile? A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibers. Here is a list of textiles that can be donated for recycling or reuse:

• Socks
• Pants, Jeans, Shorts
• Shirts, T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Blouses, Jerseys
• Shoes, Flip Flops, Boots, Slippers
• Pajamas, Sweatpants, Yoga and Exercise Clothes
• Dresses, Skirts, Suits
• Ties, Fabric Belts
• Purses, Hats
• Jackets, Coats
• Undergarments/Bras
• Sheets, Pillows, Blankets
• Table Linens, Curtains/Drapes
• Stuffed animals

All of these items can be donated as long as they are clean and dry, and free of potentially hazardous materials such as oil. Worn, torn, and stained items are welcome! There are many donation boxes located in town, so why not use them?

If a collection box is full, please call the number on the box to alert its owner, and FIND ANOTHER location to donate. Leaving donations outside of a collection box is considered dumping, which is illegal and could result in a fine.

Please remember that in addition to clothing, gently used household items, including small appliances, furniture and toys can be donated by dropping off at any of the locations listed below. Some of these organizations will even send a truck to your home or office to pick them up!

Salvation Army: Drop off at 72 Cambridge Street, Worcester, or for pickup: 1-800-SA-TRUCK
Goodwill/Morgan Memorial: Drop off at 25 Park Avenue, Worcester
Savers: Drop off at 490 Lincoln Street, Worcester
Epilepsy Foundation: Call for pickup (888) 322-8209 www.donatenewengland.org
Big Brother Big Sister Foundation: Call for pickup (800) 483-5503, or www.bbbsfoundation.org

If you are unsure of how to recycle or dispose of an item, check our website at www.auburnguide.com – Trash & Recycling page for more information.

You can get rid of unwanted textile items, help charities raise money and help the environment in one simple step. It’s a win-win-win!