Every year New York State residents and businesses throw away almost 1.4 billion pounds of usable and recyclable textiles, including clothing, footwear, belts, hats, handbags, rugs, drapes, towels, sheets and other linens. The potential market value of all these materials is almost $210,000,000 USD.
Donations in any condition are welcomed by for-profit and non-profit textile collectors. This includes items with stains, rips, missing buttons or broken zippers. Textiles are a very valuable commodity. Items that don't sell in a thrift store are sold to brokers or graders who sell to overseas markets. In developing nations, used clothing and textiles supply local enterprises with materials to repair and resell.
What Can You Donate?
It is estimated that 95% of all used clothing, footwear and other household products such as sheets, towels, curtains, and pillowcases can be recycled.
Even if items are torn, stained, are missing buttons, have broken zippers, etc., they can still be recycled. As long as the items are dry and oil/grease and odor-free (not stained with solvents such as gasoline) they can be recycled. Items can be any style, age or condition.
Clothing: Shirts, pants, jackets, suits, hats, belts, ties, gloves, scarves, socks (even single ones) undergarments, handbags and backpacks
Footwear: Shoes, sandals, sneakers, cleats, boots, flip-flops, and slippers
Household textiles: Curtains, drapes, sheets, blankets, comforters, towels, table linens, throw rugs, pillows, stuffed dolls and animals
Why Should This Items be Donated?
Environmental benefits: decreases the amount of trash we bury in landfills, reduces greenhouse gases, saves natural resources including water and petroleum, and reduces toxins. Cotton is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world.
Economic benefits: textile recycling creates jobs. The number of jobs that would be created statewide if each NY resident recycled one additional pound of textiles per week is over 6,700. Keeping used textiles out of the trash reduces disposal costs for local government, businesses and residents.
More information on textile recycling can be found on the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles website.
Where Can You Take Your Textiles for Reuse and Recycling?
- You can bring your reusable and recyclable clothing to local charities, drop-off bins that are located throughout your community, private clothing recyclers, local transfer stations, and special textile recycling events.
Also go to the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling for more locations.
What Happens to the Textiles?
Nearly 100% of donated textiles are reused and recycled. 45% are reused as clothing, 20% are recycled into fibers and 30% are reused as wiping cloths
What Can't be Donated?
Rugs, carpeting or items stained with blood or grease/oil or items that are moldy