Residents can help divert millions of kilograms of waste from the landfill with new textile bins and a textile pickup program.
The City of Kamloops has teamed up with Diabetes Canada to add eight textile donation bins, from Rae-More Park in Rayleigh to the Barnhartvale landfill.
The city previously had one bin at its recycling depot on Bunker Road in the McGill industrial area.
The additional new locations are: Albert McGowan Park, Brocklehurst Arena, John Tod Centre, Mission Flats Landfill diversion area, Valleyview Park and Kamloops Yacht Club.
City solid waste services analyst Marcia Dick said textiles are a significant waste contributor, amounting to about nine per cent of the city’s residential waste.
Textiles include clothing, shoes, boots, towels, blankets, sheets, curtains, sleeping bags, purses and backpacks.
Dick said 37 kilograms of textiles per person per year are discarded, amounting to about 3.4-million kilograms annually.
“It’s a huge waste stream and it’s a highly valuable waste stream,” Dick said.
She said residents have tried to recycle textiles via their curbside collection bins, but the materials are not accepted and ultimately end up in the landfill.
Diabetes Canada works with Value Village, selling the textiles at a flat per pound rate.
If the textiles are not suitable for re-use, the organization has access to other markets, which results in the product being used for other purposes, such as carpet underlay.
Diabetes Canada uses the money from its textile-diversion program — its most significant fundraising activity — to help fund diabetes research, advocacy and resources. The organization also offers summer camps to kids with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Dick said the waste-diversion initiative came at no cost to the city’s taxpayers, save for the time it took to set up the partnership.
Textile bins have been a source of safety concerns following the deaths in recent years of marginalized people who have become stuck in the contraptions.
Dick said the Diabetes Canada bins do not pose safety concerns, noting it is impossible to get inside, with engineers having signed off on the bins’ safety.
In addition to the new textile bins, residents can arrange to have their textiles picked up for free from Diabetes Canada. Book a time slot online at https://declutter.diabetes.ca/.
Dick said waste reduction will also help with those 37 kilograms of textile waste per person per year.
Fast fashion, for example, is essentially inexpensive, low-quality clothing produced in response to the latest trends.
Dick recommended looking for high-quality items that stand the test of time — a black dress or white blouse, which won’t go out of fashion.
She recommended following zero-waster Bea Johnson online for fashion tips.
“It’s always better to avoid creating waste in the first place,” Dick said.
For more information on the city’s textile recycling, go online to the City of Kamloops website..