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Curbside Textile Recycling to Launch in West Hartford

Simple Recycling 'Save the Date' cards were sent to West Hartford residents and the program will launch the week of Oct. 30. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Simple Recycling will pick up textiles at West Hartford residences beginning the week of Oct. 30, 2017.

By Ronni Newton

An additional – and completely optional – recycling opportunity will be made available to West Hartford residents beginning the week of Oct. 30, 2017, and Public Works Director John Phillips is hopeful that it will be one more method of effectively removing recyclable material from the waste stream.

Postcards about the program were mailed to all residents this past week as essentially a “save the date” card, Phillips said Friday. Simple Recycling, which has contracted with the town, is holding an official kick-off at its New Britain, CT, facility next Wednesday, as the company launches its Connecticut operation and the new program prepares to commence in West Hartford as well as New Britain and Bristol.

The next mailing residents get from Simple Recycling will include a pink bag. The bag is for discarded clothing as well as accessories, and can be put out at the curb on a resident’s regular trash and recycling pick-up day.

Simple Recycling, which is headquartered in Solon, OH, is a national company that is looking to move into this market, Phillips said. They are a for-profit company, and have developed their own markets for the textiles which include reuse as well as deconstruction for creation of other materials. Most of the material can find another purpose, and their residual – the amount that ends up in the landfill – is only 5 percent, Phillips said.

“We are trying to get the materials away from waste to proper disposal,” Phillips said. “We want to remove textiles from the incineration waste stream and move them to the reuse-recycle waste stream.”

The state has a goal of 60 percent diversion in 2024.

There is no cost at all to West Hartford residents for this new program, which is being completely run by Simple Recycling. The town will receive a very small benefit – a penny a pound, Phillips said.

At the same time, Phillips said, residents should still be encouraged to continue donating their unwanted clothing, shoes, and other textiles to non-profits. The textile recycling program with Bay State, which operates at the Yard Waste and Recycling Center on Brixton Street, will remain in place for those who want to drop off at that facility.

“Now you have choices,” Phillips said. This is just another alternative that should make it easier for people to keep textiles out of the waste stream. According to the Simple Recycling website, that’s where 85 percent of clothing ultimately ends up.

The process is simple, Phillips said. When a resident is getting rid of textiles – clothing, shoes, purses, backpacks, curtains, and other acceptable materials – the items can be placed in the 30-gallon pink bag and placed at the curb on the regular trash and recycling pick-up day. Simple Recycling will be making rounds of the territory that day, and will leave the resident another bag after they pick-up.

The list of acceptable material is broad, and includes much more than just clothing. According to Phillips, Simple Recycling will accept the following clean items: men’s and women’s clothing, children’s clothing, coats and jackets, shoes, hats, purses, backpacks, blankets, pillows, drapes, curtains, sleeping bags, and jewelry.

Although only one bag is being distributed to each residence, and materials will only be picked up in the official bags, there is no limit on how many bags can be put out.

If more bags are needed or if a pick-up is missed, or for questions about the acceptability of a specific item, contact Simple Recycling at [email protected], at 866-35-5068, or through the company website simplerecycling.com.

Simple Recycling, which approached West Hartford about this program, has a national track record and is well-managed, Phillips said. The company will be providing a benefit to residents in the three towns with which it has initially contracted, and also providing economic development and jobs in former factory space in New Britain.

The program will soon be expanded to East Hartford and Enfield, and other communities throughout the state, and is a good example of regional cooperation with management of waste, said Phillips.

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