Textile Recycling Program
Where do all the clothes go?
What happens to the clothing that cannot be sold?
What do they do with all the stuff that does not sell after it’s been out on the sales floor?
Like return it depots, Positive Apparel Thrift Store is taking action to keep textiles out of the landfill. Most of the large thrift stores in Canada send their unwanted Clothing and Textiles to designated companies for recycling and/or resale.
We toured one of these facilities back in 2012. It was so very enlightening to see how much waist we create as humans. The facility we visited employed hundreds of people. They had a room as big as our furniture department filled with washers and dryers to clean soiled clothing. They had large bins with sorted categories like children’s clothing, vintage, linen, etc. They had huge bailing machines in order to shrink clothing in to 100 lb packages. Some balers made up to 1,000 lb packages. There were forklifts for Gaylord boxes of shoes it was an enormous operation. If you wanted to open a store you could purchase items by the pound from them. Any items that could not be sold went to recycling facilities in India to be cut up or shredded to be made in to new material.
Positive Apparel offers all the Kootenay Boundary thrift stores the opportunity to eliminate their unwanted items at no cost to them.
We do a pick up loop twice a month starting at 4 am. We are currently picking up from 10 stores and have 5 store bring us their items.
This has been a great service to these other stores. It provides lower dump fees and a means to eliminate unwanted clothing in an environmentally conscious way. It also allows them to accept more donations or consignment items keeping their customers happy with new stock, and donators happy because they can accept more donations.
Currently we ship out one 53 foot trailer typically once a month. Shipment sizes are in the 36,000 pounds range. Currently we hire a small crew to move the mountains of bags and boxes. We also rent a space to facilitate these loads. We have hired a driver and have a large cube van for the by weekly pickups.
This has never been a very profitable venture due to the magnitude of the programs expenses. It does however allow for a huge reduction in textile waste to the Kootenay Boundary landfill.