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October 15, 2012

Textiles targeted for repurposing, recycling

NEWBURYPORT — In the process of sorting closets and discarding old clothes, many of us will mistakenly discard materials that have real monetary and recycling value. Also, diverting instead of disposing of recyclable textiles, clothing, shoes and linens reduces unnecessary pressure placed on municipal disposal costs.

Newburyport’s Recycling and Energy coordinator, Molly Ettenborough, said in a release that roughly $25,000 could be saved by the city each year if all the textiles eligible for recycling were diverted instead of discarded. Roughly 6 per cent, or in Newburyport’s case, 360 tons, of all discarded contents are composed of textiles and over 85 percent of these materials could have a second life.

Most textiles, including bed sheets, rugs, bedspreads and window treatments, can be repurposed and carry a high monetary value on the recycling market. Unfortunately, the lack of education and understanding about which textiles can be diverted is largely to blame for disposal instead of recycling.

As Newburyport continues to expand the Toward Zero Waste Newburyport initiative, textiles are the next major category of resources that the city is targeting for repurposing or recycling.

On the first Saturday of every month, the Crow Lane Recycling Center will now accept all textiles that are clean and dry; stained items are OK. In addition, Eco Smith Recyclers Inc. has established collection bins at the Nock Middle School and the Crow Lane Compost facility. The Londonderry, N.H., textile recycling company will reimburse the Nock PTO 3 cents per pound for all collected textiles. This has already resulted in the collection of 70 tons of textiles and $4,258 in reimbursements since 2009 to support educational enrichment programs.

Also, Eco Smith will post a large truck at Mayor Holaday’s Health and Wellness Fair on Saturday, Oct. 27, to receive textiles from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Hall. The city is encouraging all residents to begin collecting and stockpiling textiles in anticipation of this collection period. For more information, call 978-499-0412 or e-mail

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