For the past four years, Cornwall residents have donated a staggering amount of textile waste.
This past spring, a total of 22,000 pounds of clothing, bedding, and shoes was donated in just one week. That waste was collected, in large part, by two people: Steve Smith and Lonnie McCracken, members of the waste management division.
“When you see how much clothing waste there is, it’s really overwhelming,” said Smith. “Our thrift stores can’t keep up with how much we bring in over the course of one week.”
Cornwall Gives A Shirt is back from October 18 to 23. To participate, simply:
- Collect used clothing, shoes, or linen.
- Bag them and place a sign on the bag stating: “give a shirt”
- If you have items that are torn, stained, or not reusable, please label the bag “clothes for recycling”
- Put the bag(s) out on your regular collection day, a few feet away from your garbage and recycling.
- Items like toys, housewares, and books will not be accepted.
Donations will be brought to the Agape Centre’s New For You, Baldwin House’s Serendipity Boutique, and the Salvation Army thrift store. When these stores are no longer able to accept donations, leftovers will be brought to Value Village and any other thrift stores in Eastern Ontario that can accept clothes.
The goal of Cornwall Gives A Shirt is to keep clothing waste out of the landfill. Textiles can be reused – sold in thrift stores – or recycled, to be made into new materials.
“Every piece of clothing we pick up over the week is kept out of the landfill,” said Dave Kuhn, Waste Management Supervisor. “I’d like to take that a step further – can we reduce the amount of textile waste we create?”
To avoid generating textile waste, consider…
- Shopping at thrift stores and vintage clothing stores (in addition to those we’ve listed earlier, used clothing can be purchased locally at Echo Trends and DG1 Vintage)
- Quality over quantity: instead of buying three pairs of low-quality pants, consider choosing one higher-quality pair that will last longer
- Avoiding fast fashion – clothing that will wear out quickly
- Collecting the classics – clothing that won’t go out of style
- Organizing swaps and hand-me-down events with family and friends
- Repairing, repurposing, and, when all else fails, recycling: some thrift stores, like Agape Centre’s New For You, accept clothing for recycling