Recycling Know-No’s – Textiles and Clothing – What Goes Where?

October 19, 2023

I personally have many favorite T-shirts. They have a lifespan, from wearing them a lot in public, to wearing them while you do painting, to wearing pajamas, to no longer being acceptable.  Those transitions of status are usually dictated by other members of my family who refuse to be seen in public with me. Just for some context, a few years ago I was convinced to get rid of my “Berry the Bears!” T-shirt from the 1985 Super Bowl. Ok, maybe I need help, but it does raise the question.   

How do you get rid of old clothes? I know we have various drop-off boxes from various groups, but what do they actually want? Clothes that people can wear? Textiles to be recycled? I know my T-shirts cannot be worn by anyone.

The Bedford Citizen summer intern Bridget Sheehan wrote a long article on textile recycling in August, but we could use a reminder on what to do with those textiles.

I reached out to Elizabeth Antanavica, the Bedford recycling coordinator.   Here’s what she says:

All the textile drop boxes in Town (Baystate, Planet Aid, and CMRK) are in the business of both reuse and recycling of textiles. They each have a pre-sort facility in Western MA where they determine which grade the incoming material is and send it to either a reuse channel to be worn again or a recycling stream where it lives on as carpet padding or fiber insulation.  Even if it feels weird, your old T-shirt can go in a drop bin. The only condition that is not acceptable is wet, moldy, or contaminated with hazardous substances (like oil). 

List of Drop Box locations:


All textiles can and should be recycled.
Do NOT put them in your blue bin.
Drop them off at the boxes located around town.
Curbside pickup of unwanted textiles available.

To schedule collection visit the CMRK website or call (508)466-4590. This is a free program and all residents may participate, not just those served by the municipal trash program. 

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