DELMAR–477 capital region households participated in the Town of Bethlehem’s ‘Re-Clothe NY’ event on Nov. 19, the third time the annual event has been held in connection with America Recycles Day, and saved an estimated total of 22,417 pounds of clothing/textiles, books, paper and cardboard from the landfill. The collected weight of materials collected averages out to roughly 2 ¼ pounds for every household in the entire Town. About $500 in donations were also raised to support Bethlehem Central School District Environmental Programs, according to Town Recycling Coordinator Dan Lilkas-Rain.
The annual event is a collaboration between the Town of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Central School District Green Team, the Delmar Farmer’s Market, Grassroot Givers, The American Clothing Recycling Company, Cascade Recovery, and 3N Document Destruction.
“I’d like to thank all the residents who brought materials for reuse and recycling, our student and community volunteers, and the representatives from each of the event partners who helped. This allowed us to once again save an amazing amount of valuable materials from the landfill in just three hours, with minimal town costs,” said Lilkas-Rain, who was just awarded the 2016 New York State Recycling Leadership Award at the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) Annual Conference earlier this month in Cooperstown.
The collection event celebrated national “America Recycles Day” (on Nov. 15 every year), and marked the beginning of the third year for the statewide “Re-Clothe NY” textile recovery campaign, an EPA Award-winning program which has successfully rescued millions of pounds of clothing and other textiles from being trashed in the first two years since its launch. The on-going campaign aims to raise awareness of the fact that nearly all clothing, footwear and textiles can be donated for reuse or recycling, and these items don’t belong in the landfill. NYS residents dispose of some 1.4 billion pounds of clothing and textiles annually, with an estimated market value exceeding $130 million. If all of this material was recovered, not trashed, more than 1,000 jobs could be created across New York State, according to Re-Clothe NY campaign estimates.
Proceeds from the clothing/textile collection portion will help fund the Bethlehem Central School District’s Green Team initiatives. According to Green Team leader Mark Warford, “The two annual recycling events on America Recycled Day and Earth Day are great opportunities for the school district Green Team to expand our environmental work to the entire community.
We have made great strides in our school buildings in modeling sustainable practices with recycling, re-using, composting, and energy reduction. Our hope is that the students will continue to move these initiatives forward at home and beyond!”
Individual categories of materials collected at the event included:
Clothing, textiles and footwear: 9,287 pounds collected for reuse and recycling (wearable clothing will be re-worn; non-wearable clothing/non-reusable textiles will be cut into wiping rags or shredded into fiber for use as auto sound insulation, carpet padding, stuffing, etc.).
Residents can continue to donate clothing, footwear and other textiles for reuse or recycling throughout the year (the “other” list includes linens, stuffed animals, loose fabric, purses, belts, backpacks, and even ripped, stained or damaged items—as long as they are not wet or contaminated). Event vendor American Clothing Recycling Company manages a number of blue collection bins throughout town, including the bins at the Elm Ave CDTA Park and Ride, the Kenwood Avenue Municipal Parking Lot near Four Corners (between Hughes Opticians and Applebee Funeral Home), and the Town’s Rupert Rd Transfer Station—proceeds from these locations benefit the town. There are also blue bins at the Middle School lot and a number of churches in Bethlehem, and proceeds benefit those organizations. Visit townofbethlehem.org/recycling or nytextiles.org for additional clothing/textile bin, shed, and thrift store locations maintained by other non-profit and private sector collectors.
Books and Cardboard: Local charity Grassroot Givers and event volunteers sorted out and collected over 2,100 books with reuse value, filling two vehicles with boxes. Those books weighed an estimated 3,150 pounds; an additional 3,480 pounds of books and cardboard boxes were collected and recycled by Cascade Recovery. Residents are instructed that they can continue to recycle books, mixed paper and cardboard throughout the year at the Cascade Recovery dumpsters at the Elm Ave CDTA Park and Ride, as well as the newer location at the back of the Town Municipal Parking lot on Kenwood Avenue mentioned above.
Shredded documents for recycling: About 6,500 pounds of secure document shredding was done on-site by 3N Document Destruction of Clifton Park. This material is baled and sent to a paper mill for recycling back into paper products, according to 3N co-owner Dave Neville. The textile collection portion of the event is part of “Re-Clothe NY,” a statewide campaign to promote clothing and textile recycling. Visit www.nytextiles.org for details.
For more information about Town of Bethlehem recycling visit townofbethlehem.org/recyling or contact Dan Rain, Recycling Coordinator: email [email protected] or call 439- 4955 ext. 1510. For BCSD Green Team details visit bethlehemschools.org/green-team/.