Do you remember having to wear your older brother’s or sister’s clothes? When I was young, these were referred to as “hand-me-downs.” They were passed down among family members until there was no younger sibling to use them, and then we sent them off to relatives for their new brood.
Whether or not you were embarrassed by this, it was the way we recycled, and it was a way of life. Somewhere through time it was decided that these items of clothing were disposable, but that is simply not the case.
Textile recycling is the oldest form of recycling, likely dating back to ancient times. Fibers have a longer shelf life than we might imagine. What may start as a t-shirt might later end up as a cloth used to clean our car.
The household drapes we want to replace to update our decor can help to make a new car mat. There are endless ways textiles can be given new life, including craft ideas for the more creative-minded.
We can learn from Goodwill Industries just how usable an old coat or handbag can be. The new cycle begins at their donation center. Items are first sorted for sale (supporting their training programs), and later, if an item isn’t sold, it is sent to one of Goodwill’s outlet locations. If items there are not sold, they are then purchased by “aftermarket” recyclers.
These companies either use the fabrics to create industrial products (carpet pads, insulation and automotive wiping cloths, to name a few), or send them overseas where craftspeople take them apart and refashion them into new items that they sell locally. There is both great demand and need for our used clothing and household textiles.
SalemRecycles, the City of Salem and Goodwill are joining forces again to provide an easy way to recycle all of your used clothing and household textile items in one easy location.
Morgan Memorial Goodwill will have a manned truck on site at Riley Plaza in downtown Salem on Saturday, November 17th to collect any and all textiles you would like to donate. Items are accepted in any condition (stained, soiled or torn) but must be clean and dry.
For a complete list of acceptable items, please visit our website at Greensalem.com or call (978) 619-5679.
Erin Huggard is the current Chair of SalemRecycles.