Thousands of tonnes of textiles could be recycled and hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money could be saved with the introduction of a trial recycling scheme.
From July 2012, all Suffolk residents will be able to recycle their old clothes and other textiles by placing them in a specially designed textiles recycling bag provided by the Suffolk Waste Partnership (SWP).
The Suffolk Waste Partnership is a partnership of the seven district and borough Councils (including Waveney) and Suffolk County Council, working together to continually improve waste services across Suffolk.
A recent analysis of rubbish bins in Suffolk revealed around 7,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles end up in landfill every year. This costs taxpayers more than £600,000 in disposal fees. It is this material that the scheme aims to capture and recycle.
However, the SWP recognises and supports the work undertaken by charity organisations to reuse and recycle unwanted clothes and textiles. Residents are strongly urged to continue to donate to charity shops or their local textile banks where they would normally do so.
The focus of the trial scheme is solely to collect and recycle the thousands of tonnes of textiles currently being sent to landfill. Residents will be able to recycle items charities may not accept such as old and worn clothing.
The scheme not only provides residents with an additional option to recycle more waste, but also helps the SWP move towards their aim to recycle or compost 60% of Suffolk's waste by 2015.
Suffolk households will receive a pack containing two of the specially designed textile recycling bags, along with a leaflet outlining the collection instructions.
Residents simply need to put their old and worn textiles in the bag, tie the bag securely and place it in the top of the recycling bin. By putting the bag at the top of the recycling bin, the council collection teams will clearly see it when they empty the recycling bin and leave a replacement bag.
Acceptable items are as follows:
All clean clothing, shoes, boots, wellington boots, slippers, hats, scarves, gloves, bed linen, blankets, sheets, pillowcases, handbags, belts, clean underwear, curtains, towels, tea towels and stuffed toys
Unacceptable items are as follows:
Dirty or oily items, duvets, quilts, sleeping bags, pillows, cushions and carpets
The textiles collected will be sent to a reputable reprocessing company where they will be sorted into re-usable clothing or shredded and used as stuffing or wipes.
Councillor Clive Arthey, Chair of the Suffolk Waste Partnership said; "We are delighted to broaden the range of materials we are able to collect for recycling. We encourage our residents to support this new scheme and help reuse or recycle those textiles they may currently be sending to landfill.
"However, I would like to remind people that they are certainly not being asked to give away any textiles and clothing they would normally donate to charity shops or place in charity textile banks. Our ultimate aim is solely to collect and recycle the textiles that are currently going straight to landfill - this is the area we need to tackle."