Somerville launches curbside textile recycling program

Somerville residents now have an easier way to recycle unwanted clothes and accessories.

The city recently launched a curbside textile recycling program. Starting last Monday, July 30, residents who receive the city’s regular trash and recycling service can also leave clothing or other household textiles at the curb on their regular pick-up days.

All the recyclables for the textile program must be placed in pink recycling bags provided free to residents by the city’s contractor, Simple Recycling.

In advance of July 30, two bags were mailed to each household. When the contractor picks up filled bags, it will leave behind the same number of new ones to replace it. Residents can also request additional bags.


According to Simple Recycling, just 15 percent of unwanted clothing is donated or recycled each year, with the remainder — 14.3 million tons — ending up in the trash.

City officials said residents are still encouraged to donate their old clothes to nonprofits or collection drives, but that the new program will make recycling easier for those who might not otherwise donate or recycle.

They said the effort will help the environment and reduce the city’s trash disposal costs.

In addition to clothing, textile items that can be recycled include blankets and drapes. Certain non-textile items, including jewelry, dishes, and silverware, will also be accepted.

For a complete list, visit Simple Recycling works with several thrift stores to resell up to 20 percent of its collected material, those items deemed sellable in the United States. Other items are sold internationally or used for their raw materials.

John Laidler can be reached at