Recycling fashion made easy

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Fall is upon us! As you pull out your cold-weather gear, you find that sweater that you’ve wanted to get rid of quite some time ago. Although it is out of season, it’s in great condition. What can you with it (and other gently used and unwanted items)?

You may consider selling it to the local thrift store, but these stores may be picky about what they’ll buy from you. The other option is to discard it into the trash. Before you do either, consider GrowNYC’s Clothing and Textile Recycling Collections.

This collection program aims to reduce the amount of clothing and textiles found in landfills every year. From 2004 to 2005, textile materials made up about 5.7 percent of the New York City residential waste. Most discarded textiles were clothing, followed by non-clothing items such as linens. A majority of the textiles and clothing that end up in landfills can be salvaged, recycled, and reused. GrowNYC has put out trucks in the Greenmarkets citywide to collect these items and sell them for reuse as clothing or linens or to recycling markets that turn materials into rags or other useful products. If you have any clothing or textiles you would like to donate, check out the locations, hours, and the types of clothing and textile GrowNYC accepts here.

If you feel that hauling your clothing or textiles is too much trouble, the City of New York and Housing Works has a new program called Re-fashioNYC that makes clothing donation easier. It is said to be one of the first large-scale consumer textile recycling programs in the country. The new program is free and open to residential buildings in all five boroughs. If you live in an apartment building, you can get started by getting consent from your landlord and filling out this form to request a metal bin. Re-fashioNYC bins may encourage your neighbors to donate and lessen the amount of discarded clothing and textiles into landfills as well.

For donations beyond clothing and textiles, check out NYC Stuff Exchange. On this web site, you can find places to sell, buy, rent, or repair antiques, vintage items, artifacts, and other gently used goods (including high-end and designer products). Together, we can help lessen the amount of waste accumulated in the landfills each year.

Photos: GrowNYC