Textile recycling program arrives in Brandon

City is one of more than 160 municipalities across the country to participate in a textile diversion pilot program led by Diabetes Canada and York University.

With the gift-giving season here, some Brandonites will be getting a significant upgrade to their wardrobe, meaning it’s time to consider disposing of that worn out sweater or those socks where your big toe sticks out like a sore thumb.

But before you throw out those barely-wearable articles of clothing, consider this – 85 per cent of the 1.4 million kilograms of textiles purchased in Brandon on an annual basis end up in the city’s landfill.

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So instead of throwing those old clothes in the trash, why not help recycle them, and also help out a worthwhile charity and a university study to boot.

Last week, the City of Brandon announced it is one of more than 160 municipalities across Canada currently participating in a national research and textile diversion pilot program. This ambition project is being led by Diabetes Canada and York University.

The City of Brandon’s Environmental Initiatives Coordinator, Lindsay Hargreaves, says this project makes sense on many different levels.

“From start to finish, it takes a total of 1,800 gallons to manufacture one pair of jeans, and 700 gallons of water to make a single cotton t-shirt,” says Hargreaves in a press release. “While the global textile industry has become increasingly influenced by the concept of ‘fast fashion,’ we can work to change our behaviours as consumers by donating our unwanted clothing instead of throwing them in our refuse or recycling bins.” 

To aid in that, the City of Brandon has set up several locations through the community for people to deposit those unwanted or unwearable garments. These textile diversion bins have been set up on the Keystone Centre grounds (southeast corner), at the East End Community Centre, in Kin Park and in Rideau Park.

Those interested in participating are asked to drop off anything textile-based, including unwanted old clothing, plush toys, blankets or other textile products.

The community has been quick to rally to this cause, noted Hargreaves. In just first two weeks of the program, about 500 pounds of textiles were collected at the four depot sites.

The added bonus of making these donations is that the clothing can be recycled or repaired and resold through thrift shops. This is a major revenue stream for Diabetes Canada. They use 100 per cent of the net profits from the resale of donated clothing to fund worthwhile projects, such as research, education, advocacy, as well as their 12 supervised camps for children with Type 1 Diabetes.

The City of Brandon will be a participant in the national research and textile diversion pilot program for the next two years, after which longer-term local program options will be considered.

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