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How to Reuse and Recycle Clothing and Textiles

New Yorkers throw out approximately 1.4 billion pounds of clothing and textiles every year. What a waste!  An estimated 95 percent of these materials could have been reused or recycled.

Clothing and textiles can be reused as donations that can help those in need and/or can be reduced to fiber and recycled to make other products.

Clothing and Textiles can be donated at thrift shops, consignment shops, vintage stores and at any of the many donation drop-boxes within Dutchess County.  Two donation boxes for clothing and textile reuse can be located in the parking lot of the Division of Solid Waste Management offices and open to the public 24 hours a day.  Our location is 96 Sand Dock Road, Poughkeepsie, NY.  For more information click here .


Major charitable organizations typically sell about 20 to 30 percent of the clothing donations they receive in their retail outlets.

Smaller local charities often sell a higher percentage locally, but both major and local charities have clothing and textiles they cannot sell. That’s when these charitable and not-for-profit organizations partner with the for-profit used clothing industry.

For-profit reuse and recycling businesses purchase, in bulk, the clothing and textiles that charities are unable to sell. This provides an additional revenue stream that helps support the charity’s mission. Eventually, the for-profit companies will sort the items and guide them to the appropriate reuse/recycling stream.

SMART (Secondary Materials & Recycled Textile Association) estimates approximately 40 percent of the items will be reused for their original purpose. Often the company ships used clothing to markets in Africa, Europe, Central and South America and Asia. Approximately 30 percent of the textiles will be cut into industrial wiping and polishing cloths, and 25 percent will be shipped to mills where the textiles are reduced to fiber. The newly reclaimed fiber is then used to manufacture new products such as home insulation, carpet padding, car sound-proofing, stuffing for pet beds, etc.

The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) in collaboration with the Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) and the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), launched a statewide textile recovery campaign on November 15, 2014 (America Recycles Day), with the goal to spur local action from all New York State residents to divert their unwanted textiles from the waste stream through recycling.

To learn more about textile recycling visit the NYSAR3 website.