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BERLIN — A new recycling service will be launching next month, promising to save residents space in their closets and spare the town a few dollars on disposal costs.
Ohio-based company Simple Recycling will begin collecting any used textiles, such as old clothes, shoes, belts or handbags, on June 17 in pink bags which will be mailed to households in the weeks beforehand. Every recycling collection day the company will pick up the bags, which should be left on the curbside, and leave a replacement attached to the recycling bin.
Deputy Public Works Director Jim Horbal said it’s a “win-win” for the town, which gets paid by the ton collected rather than paying to dispose of the refuse. The company already operates in Newington, New Britain and Plainville, among other Connecticut towns.
“We will be reducing the tonnage collected,” he said. “Where we pay $64 a ton to dispose of it … the Simple Recycling contract will be reimbursing the town $20 a ton collected.”
Every recycling collection, which the town is currently paid $9 a ton for, will be switching to costly expense to the town after the current contract ends in July. Due to the cost of exporting to China under the current tariffs, the price will jump to $82 a ton, Horbal said.
“It’s a $90 jump and it’s coming out of our pocket,” he said.
Simple Recycling resells lightly used textiles domestically or abroad, where gently used or out-of-fashion clothing might be more marketable, while more heavily soiled clothing will be recycled for raw materials.
A release from the town states that “clothing, boots and shoes, belts and ties, handbags, hats and gloves, toys, towels, sheets and blankets, (and) small kitchen appliances” are all accepted items. If residents don’t have a bag at hand, they can use a normal trash bag and clearly mark it to be picked up by Simple Recycling.
“The Simple Recycling service is not meant to compete with local charities,” the release says. “Its purpose is to provide a convenient curbside collection option for residents who want it. Ultimately, it’s about keeping those items out of the trash.”
It cites Environmental Protection Agency statistics as finding that 84 percent of textiles end up in a landfill or incinerator, adding up to an average of 85 pounds of such items being discarded per person every year. That represents 6 percent of the country’s trash.