Clothing and Textile Recycling
In November 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection banned textiles from disposal. In compliance with this policy, the City of Boston does not accept clothing and textiles in curbside trash.
Across Massachusetts, residents and businesses dispose of approximately 230,000 tons of textiles annually. More than 5% of waste delivered to combustion facilities are made up of clothing and textiles. About 85% of the textiles being thrown away could be donated, reused, or recycled instead.
To help residents comply with this state policy, the City of Boston offers two options for residents to dispose of their unwanted clothing and textiles:
- drop boxes conveniently located throughout the City, and
- weekend curbside textile collection.
Items that are worn, torn, or stained can still be donated to a textile recycler! Items that are soiled, wet, or moldy should be placed in your curbside trash for collection.
Accepted Clothing and TextilesAccepted Textiles
- Flip Flops
- Boots (work boots, dress boots, winter boots)
- Dish cloths
- Cloth napkins
- Table linens
- Sports jerseys
- Stuffed animals
- Tops (t-shirt, blouses, shirts, tank tops)
- Outerwear (coats, jackets, blazers)
- Bottoms (pants, slacks, jeans, sweatpants, skirts, shorts)
- Baby clothing
- Bags (pocketbooks, backpacks, duffle bags, totes)
What happens to my donated clothing and textiles?
Nearly 100% of donated clothing and textiles are recycled! They are separated into 3 grades: usable clothing, wiping cloth grade, and fiber conversion grade.
- About 45% of donated textiles are sold as second hand apparel, either through charitable organizations or for-profit exporters that sell baled clothing to developing countries.
- Another 30% is turned into industrial wiping cloths. ERC Wiping Products (Lynn, MA) cuts used clothing and other textiles into rags and sells them to commercial garages and public works operations.
- The remaining 20% is sent to fiber converters where textiles are broken down into their basic fiber components to be re-manufactured into insulation for cars and homes, carpet padding or soundproofing materials.