Textiles/Clothing and Footwear Recycling

Clean and dry clothing, footwear, and other items can be recycled in the textile collection bins located throughout Town (see link below) or by checking with organizations listed in the Donating Reusables brochure.

NOTE: Almost all types of clothing and textiles can be recycled! Wearable items will be reused, but non-wearable items will still be recycled into wiping cloths, auto insulation, carpet pads, etc.

ACCEPTABLE ITEMS include ALL types of clothing, fabric, and household textiles (tablecloths, sheets, blankets, pillows, upholstery, curtains, towels), belts, hats, gloves, purses, bags, backpacks, footwear, and stuffed animals. All items must be clean and dry, but it is okay if they are worn, torn, ripped, stained or damaged! Backpack with a broken zipper? Shoe without its mate? STILL acceptable!*

UNACCEPTABLE ITEMS: Do NOT include mattresses, carpets/rugs, loose foam stuffing, toys and household goods** (unless specified on the donation bin). No wet or mildewy textiles. No smelly items. No items contaminated with oil, paint or hazardous materials.

For more information, facts and social media about textile recycling in NY State, please visit www.nytextiles.org/.

Bin Locations:  The Town has partnered with the American Clothing Recycling Company (blue bins) to place clothing and textile collection bins at the Elm Avenue CDTA Park & Ride. The Town receives valuable revenue from the clothing/textiles donated there. The company also has blue bins at several other locations throughout Town including the Bethlehem Central Middle School, various churches, etc.

To find other textile donation bin near you, please see the following or Map (PDF) of Town of Bethlehem Textile/Clothing Donation Bin Locations.

Textile Recycling Instructions
:  Please put acceptable items in plastic bags and tie shut. Put the filled bags into the bins. If left outside the bins, rain and snow will cause the clothing to get wet and be thrown away.

ACCEPTABLE ITEMS include clothing, shoes, purses, belts, hats, sheets, pillowcases, blankets, towels, tablecloths and curtains. Do not include mattresses, foam stuffing, toys and household goods. Some locations accept stuffed animals or other items—see collection bin signs for individual rules.

Ripped and torn cotton tee shirts, old towels, and old sheets can be reused as rags at home for dusting and cleaning and messy projects, or ask your local mechanic if they would like rags. Animal shelters are always in need of towels and blanket donations. Cotton cloth can also be cut into pieces (5” or smaller is recommended) and composted in your backyard compost bin along with fruit and vegetable scraps, grains, paper towels, etc.

*A note from the Town Recycling Coordinator about non-wearable textiles. “The charities and companies that provide the donation bins prefer wearable clothing/useable items for their higher value.  However, I have spoken directly to the textile recycling companies that receive, sort and process these materials, and they assure me that 95% of all donated items will be reused or recycled, even those torn or stained or damaged goods, mate-less shoes or boots, broken bags, etc. Just be sure not to donate anything that is wet, smelly or contaminated.”

**Refer to the Donating Reusables Brochure to locate organizations that may accept your good furniture, mattresses, toys, and other household goods. Or pick up a copy of the brochure at the Town Hall, Town Park or Highway Garage. The brochure also lists the Town’s special recycling events.

Recycling other items: All metal items, all electronics, and most appliances, plastic toys, paper goods, etc. can be recycled. See the Rupert Road Transfer Station page for more information. Questions? Call the Recycling Coordinator: 518-439-4955, extension 1510.

Textile Facts: The U.S. generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textiles per year. That’s about 82 pounds of textile/clothing waste per person per year. Of that 82 lbs, 15% is currently donated or recycled (12 lbs/person) but 85% (70 lbs/person) still ends up in the landfill! Textiles include clothing, footwear, accessories, towels, bedding, drapery, and other fabrics. This textile waste represents 5.2 percent of the entire residential waste stream. We can do better!

Every ton of recycled textile waste creates two “person days” of semi-skilled labor employment. Textile recyclers, who also recycle scraps from textile manufacturers, export 61 percent of their products, thus reducing the U.S. trade deficit. 

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