Wake County

In Raleigh, there’s a new way to get rid of old clothes and shoes

You can now recycle old clothes without ever leaving your driveway.

Raleigh is launching a textile recycling program next week. If you have curbside recycling with the city, you can put your old clothes, shoes and other textiles in a special orange bag and place the bag next to your blue recycling cart.

Simple Recycling, which is partnering with Raleigh on the project, will pick up the bags and leave a new bag tied to your recycling cart.

Textiles that could be recycled make up about 7 percent of the waste that ends up at the South Wake Landfill. Raleigh should always look for new ways to divert waste from the landfill, and the textile recycling program is a good example, said City Council member Kay Crowder.

“Cities do many things, many good things, but sometimes you strike on something that people know (is) important as it relates to diverting these out of the landfills,” said Crowder, who pushed for the initiative. “And this is one of those ways that the city made a positive decision and people are excited about it.”

The program isn’t costing taxpayers money. Simple Recycling is an Ohio-based for-profit organization that takes recycled textiles to its sorting facility where “top quality materials” are resold to thrift outlets and some items are “exported to international markets.” Unusable items are processed for raw materials.

Textile recycling includes clothing, jackets, shoes, boots, sandals, purses, backpacks, hats, stuffed animals, towels and blankets.

The new program isn’t meant to divert donated clothes from charitable organizations, Crowder said. It’s meant to help those who are unable to transport donations themselves or who choose not to donate.

“We in no way, as a city, want to discourage people from donating to charitable organizations,” she said.

The program is only open to single-family residential customers, so apartment dwellers are out of luck for now.

If you need additional orange bags or if you have a question, call Simple Recycling at 866-835-5068 or visit www.simplerecycling.com.