Markham’s Textile Recycling Program to Save Taxpayers $86,000

Connector Winter 2017

Markham is leading the way when it comes to waste diversion.

With plans to ramp up its textile recycling program, Markham is eyeing an 85% diversion rate, up from 81%.

Currently, there are 53 textile recycling bins across the city. By April, there will be 77.

There’s more to the ratty T-shirt than how long it sits in a landfill. Who makes clothes and how they’re made have become an international issue.

“Textile waste has always been seen as a human rights issue, not a waste issue,” said the city’s waste and environmental services manager, Claudia Marsales. “Looking at it as waste is more manageable for just little Markham.”

Since the introduction of clear garbage bags, banning e-waste and batteries from curbside collection in 2013, the city has saved about $760,000 in curbside collection rates, which is calculated by weight.

The city is expecting an additional $400,000 in savings this year, of which about $86,000 could be attributed to the new textile recycling efforts.

Along with expanding the textile recycling program, the plan this year is twofold: to be more aggressive with unregulated donation bins, and to ban textiles from curbside collection.

“We should send the message, if you put a bin in Markham, we will confiscate it,” said Marsales, who called for tougher bylaws on non-regulated clothing donation bins.

The city is looking at banning textiles from curbside collection starting in April, with pamphlets and reminder stickers for residents who don’t get the message.

The city is also looking at ways to expand textile recycling to include carpeting.

Source: Markham Economist & Sun