Simple Recycling offers curbside pickup of textiles for recycling in a dozen North Texas cities. Courtesy of Simple Recycling.

Jan. 16, 2018

As much as 85 percent of clothing, shoes and reusable housewares gets thrown in the landfill in the United States every year, by some estimates.

It seems clothing is so cheap today that consumers have forgotten their value. Therefore, it's no big deal to toss a T-shirt or a pair of jeans into the trash.

While Goodwill and many charity resale shops will accept unusable clothing that can be sold to textile recyclers, a company called Simple Recycling wants to bring that service to your curb.  

The philosophy is in the name. The Ohio-based for-profit company makes recycling textile items very simple, offering this needed recycling service to extend the life of used clothing. 

And the service is free too.

Started in 2014 in Ohio, Simple Recycling has quickly expanded to five states and four million residents.

Cities taking advantage of the service in North Texas include Aubrey, Bedford, Corinth, Haltom City, Kennedale, Lancaster, Little Elm, Plano, Paloma Creek, Providence Village, Richland Hills and White Settlement.

Simple Recycling company spokesperson Keith Kahn said that is just the beginning and there are many more cities pending in the area too.

“Textiles are the fastest growing part of the residential waste stream,” Kahn said. “The program helps reduce the amount of textiles that end up in the landfill.”

The city of Lancaster began working with Simple Recycling early last fall. Fabrice Kabona, assistant to the City Manager in the city of Lancaster, said Lancaster got involved in an effort to fulfill City Council goals and objectives to provide citizens with a healthy, safe and vibrant community.

“Staff sought creative ways to encourage and increase recycling within our communities,” Kabona said. “In the hope to fulfill this goal, the city partnered with Great Lakes Recycling also known as Simple Recycling to provide weekly curbside recycling collection services at no additional cost to the residents. This service was made available to residents as an option in addition to other nonprofit and charitable organizations present in the city and in the region.” 

Simple Recycling provides specially designed recycling collection bags for residents, which are picked up on the same day every week in accordance with the city’s existing recycling pickup schedule.

Residents can place soft recyclables into the orange bag and put it on the curb next to the recycling cart.

Kabona said residents in Lancaster are getting a convenient service that helps them reduce clutter while saving landfill space at no additional cost.

“The program is simple to understand and utilize and it is better for the environment reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill and incinerator. The program also helps to sustain the environment and create new well-paying jobs locally in the recycling industry.”

Items that can be placed in the recycling bag for pickup are men, women and children’s clothing; shoes, accessories, purses, hats; blankets, drapes/curtains, pillows, sleeping bags and backpacks.

In 2016, Simple Recycling took in 10 million pounds of textiles.

As for repurposing the products, Kahn said the company repurposes and reuses over 95 percent of what is collected. The clothing is sorted and categorized by quality and best use. 10-20 percent is resold in local resale stores. The remaining 80 percent is exported to international partners that deal specifically with textile recycling, where it is turned into rags or fiber for other products. See the lifecycle of second-hand clothing at Simple Recycling.

“When a city signs up with our free curbside textile recycling program, they are educating and letting the residents know how important this recycle initiative is,” Kahn said. “Donate or put textiles in the orange bags on your curb on your regular recycle day. Just don’t put textiles in the trash.”


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