According to Melanie Flamand and Marjorie Muller, two business partners who did their research and then co-founded Curbside Textile Recycling, homeowners in our state have a rare opportunity to meet a burgeoning worldwide need ~ a need for something as simple as recycled clothing. Melanie shares a startling statistic: 78% of the world is reliant upon donated clothing and only 14% of Americans actually recycle their unwanted clothing. With a supply/demand crisis at hand, these innovative thinkers believe Rhode Islanders can make a difference, beginning in their own homes (and closets)!
Curbside Textile Recycling is a Warwick-based company which offers a unique service that has far-reaching implications. The program is simple and straightforward. First, a bright-yellow plastic bag is distributed to individual households throughout your city. These bags are then filled with the homeowner’s unwanted clothing, shoes, handbags and belts ~ whatever is cluttering up your closets! The bag is then put in a visible place on the resident’s property (NOT alongside your other recycling bins) where it is picked up on the day of their normal weekly recycling collection by a two-person crew of drivers from Curbside. A replacement bag is left in its place. For the homeowner, the process is as simple as that.
What happens next is equally as uncomplicated. The stuffed bags are then gathered, weighed and assembled at a trailer truck which will bring them to a final clearinghouse. Here they are graded, sorted and then distributed to recipients around the world.
The reuse of these pounds of various textiles accomplishes many worthy purposes that go beyond meeting the unmet need for clothing, beginning with untold environmental benefits. These clothing items will now no longer end up in landfills where they remain for generations. Clothing items that are deemed unusable are shredded and recycled in the form of rags and other textile derivatives. For environmentally conscientious citizens, Curbside Textile Recycling is a win-win arrangement.
Another benefit of recycled textiles is felt more locally. Collection bins that are seen so prolifically throughout our towns will see fewer piles of discarded items. No more hauling your unwanted clothing to those local corner bins. Your “work” ends at your doorstep, though the bags can also be brought to Curbside’s main headquarters on 55 Jefferson Boulevard.
Finally, there is also a “giveback element” to the program that is very important to Flamand and Muller. Every six months, Curbside will select three local nonprofits to share a two-cent per pound “set-aside”. Selected for the first round are the Warwick FOP, Friends of the Warwick Animal Shelter and the House of Hope – all causes that have personal meaning to Curbside’s directors.
If you want to learn more about this incredible local service, contact Melanie or Marjorie at 401-537-7374 or visit them at www.curbsidetextilerecycling.com.
2020 is a great time to organize your closet and give your unwanted clothes, shoes, handbags and belts a new home!