Hennepin County, Minn., just ended the recycling program for clothing and other textiles that it started in 2016 because the county couldn’t find an end market vendor to ensure materials were being recycled.
Now, according to a MinnPost report, the county’s waste reduction and recycling supervisor is urging people to buy less new clothing. The report notes that in 2017, textiles—including clothes, belts, handbags, draperies, bedding and other things made of fabric—comprised 6.3 percent of U.S. waste. It also notes that between 2000 and 2017, textiles in landfills grew from 6.28 million tons to 11.15 million tons.
The problem, in part, is due to newer, thinner and cheaper fabrics, and recycling vendors have made it clear they want usable clothing. The reports also notes that the textile recycling program in St. Paul, Minn., is also experiencing the same type of problem.
MinnPost has more information:
Hennepin County started a recycling program for clothes and other textiles in 2016 to help cut a growing stream of trash headed to landfills. Just three years later, the county has ended the service — but not for lack of need.
Despite a national boom in new and cheap clothing, Hennepin County officials said they couldn’t find a vendor who could ensure the textiles picked up were actually being recycled in a sprawling global market. And the county isn’t the only one with such troubles.
Eureka Recycling is weighing whether to stop collecting textiles in St. Paul, which is the largest of several cities it contracts with, or significantly change its program. There are companies still accepting textiles that can be used without fixing or alteration, but Hennepin County is now urging people to buy less new clothing.