Textile Recovery

The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3), in collaboration with the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART), is launching a statewide textile recovery campaign that kicks off on November 15, 2014 (America Recycles Day), with the goal to spur local action from all New York State residents to divert their unwanted textiles from the waste stream through recycling.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has determined that approximately 1.4 billion pounds of clothing and textiles are disposed of in the state annually.  NYSAR3, SMART, and Council for Texile Recycling (CTR) have estimated that the market value of these discarded textiles exceeds $200 million, and that over 9,000 jobs would be created across NY state if those materials were recovered for reuse and recycling.


Textile recovery has quantifiable environmental benefits as well.  The U.S. EPA estimates that 175 lbs of textiles takes up one cubic yard of landfill space.  That means that almost 8 million cubic yards of landfill space is wasted on recoverable textiles disposed of by New Yorkers each year.  According to a 2008 study by Copenhagen University, 2.2 lbs of clothes diverted for reuse saves 9 lbs of CO2.  If only half of textiles in the NY wastestream were reused, this would equal close to 3 billion tons of CO2 savings annually!

Even clothes and textiles which are no longer wearable or useable can still be donated!  Rather than putting them in the trash or a blue bin, they must be brought to a specific textile drop-off point (generally either a permanent bin or a retail location) or a textile collection event.  

The following items can be donated in any condition (torn, worn, stained, missing buttons, broken zippers, shoe without a mate, etc.) as long as they are clean, dry, and odorless.  Please note - not all textile collectors and events will accept everything from this list. Click here to find a textile collection center near you.

Acceptable Materials Include:

  • Footwear (shoes, sandels, flip flops, boots, sneakers, cleats, slippers)
  • Clothing (tops, sweaters, sweatshirts, dresses, outerwear, bottoms, undergarments, socks, pajamas, slips, underwear)
  • Accessories (hats, bags, belts, gloves, ties, scarves, bathrobes)
  • Linens (sheets, blankets, towels, curtains, aprons, dishclothes, table linens, comforters, bedspreads)
  • Other (stuffed animals)


What Happens to the Collected Textiles?

Of all of the used clothing and household textiles that are currently being recycled, SMART estimates:

  • 40% is re-used for its original purpose (i.e. as an item of clothing).
  • Approximately 30% is cut into industrial wiping and polishing cloths.
  • 25% is shipped to mills that shred the textiles into fiber that is then used to manufacture new products such as home insulation, car soundproofing, carpet padding and stuffing for upholstered furniture and pet bedding.
  • The remaining 5% is thrown away because it is wet (mildewed) or had been stained with a solvent such as gasoline.


North Country Recycles

Additional Information:

Where Do I Discard...?

Find locations near you to recycle items.

North Country Recycles


Three County Recycling List:
This list identifies items accepted by transfer stations in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties.

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