Q&AZ: How Do I Recycle Clothes In Arizona?

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Friday, October 19, 2018 - 6:40am
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 1:04pm

Only 15 percent of textiles are recycled and the EPA estimates about ten and a half million tons of old clothing, shoes, rags and other textiles fill up landfills across the country.

But J.B. Shaw, recycling coordinator for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, said over-enthusiastic recyclers can cause a lot of problems for recycling centers.

“Most municipalities do not want textiles in the recycle bins,” he said. “That can clog up equipment and causes facilities to have to shut down and cut those things out of the equipment."

That’s why Shaw stresses that residents contact their municipality or check online to see what items they can put in their recycling bins.

“We need to make sure that we’re not throwing things we wish could be recycled in a recycling bin,” he said.

If your local municipality doesn’t take textiles, Shaw said there are hundreds of thrift stores across the state that accept donations.

“There's also bins that are located in malls, shopping centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience store parking lots … those are also options for donating your used clothing,” he said.

There are also programs that accept specific items. For example, a radiation office in Phoenix and a lingerie store in Tucson both accept unwanted bras that will be donated to someone in need or broken down into secondary materials.

For all your clothes that are somewhere between re-wearable and shreds, American Textile Recycling Service centers will take — and recycle — just about anything.

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