You don't have to throw out those old clothes, sneakers, or stuffed animals because the city is adding textile recycling drop off boxes across Boston neighborhoods.
Not throwing away textiles is better for the environment by not filling up trash dumps, but also it can be reused in many ways. Once sorted, 95 percent of textiles such as old bedding, hats, and jackets are reused (75 percent), upcycled, or recycled (20 percent), according to a press release.
The higher grades of recycled textiles are resold to thrift stores throughout North America, and other second hand markets across the globe. The lower grades of textiles are turned into rags for industrial use or other functions like stuffing or insulation.
The move to textile recycling comes from the recommendations of Boston's Zero Waste Plan. The Public Works Department is partnering with the textile recycling company Helpsy. In just the last year, Helpsy has collected and processed more than 25 million pounds of textiles.
Boston residents can drop off their household textiles such as clothes, shoes, sneakers, bags, stuffed animals, bedding and towels. Those items must be dry and placed into a secured plastic bag. Dropboxes are in municipal lots in Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, Roslindale and West Roxbury.
In Jamaica Plain the textile recycling drop off box is at 490 Centre St.
District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley proposed going one step further in 2019, by adding curbside textile recycling. He was pleased with the city's announcement.
We’ve actually seen a DECREASE in textile recycling from 2017-18 so this is an important step to remedy that, divert otherwise recyclable material from landfills, & save taxpayer money.
I’m proud to have played a role in making this happen.
Now, let’s do curbside composting! https://t.co/s7B8T5z7bT
— Matt O'Malley😷 (@MattOMalley) November 17, 2020
In 2019, Boston ran a pilot program for food scrap curbside composting.
Along with textile recycling being offered, the city is increasing its leaf and yard waste curbside program by going from 17 to 20 weeks a year. Leaf and yard waste curbside collection will continue every week through December 11th.
Boston is also offering 20 additional weekends when yard waste can be dropped off at the Public Works composting facility on American Legion Highway.
The city uses all residential yard waste as compost and distributes it to city gardens and Boston Parks and Recreation Department greenhouses.