Bringing New Life to Old Clothing

Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that approximately 14 million tons of clothing and textiles are trashed in the United States.

February 26, 2021

Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that approximately 14 million tons of clothing and textiles are trashed in the United States. Most of our clothing is only worn a few times before being thrown away. The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) would like to remind residents that it is easier than ever to give clothing and textiles a longer life by utilizing clothing and textile drop off programs.

In 2020 alone, the Authority’s St. Pauly Textile drop off sheds at the Utica and Rome EcoDrops recovered 18.5 tons of clothing and textiles, keeping these valuable materials out of the Regional Landfill, and providing enough clothing for an estimated 2,943 people around the world. When including the combined efforts of clothing and textile recovery programs in Oneida and Herkimer Counties provided by St. Pauly Textile, Rock Solid Charity and One World Center, 820 tons of material were recovered, resulting in enough material to clothe 130,500 people around the world.

The Authority has clothing and textile drop off sheds at its EcoDrop Utica (80 Leland Ave Ext.) and EcoDrop Rome (575 Perimeter Rd).

Acceptable items include:

  • Old Clothes - all items should be clean and dry
  • All Footwear
  • Accessories - hats, gloves, scarves, pocketbooks, duffle bags, belts and ties
  • Linens - sheets, blankets, comforters, towels, throw rugs, draperies, table linens
  • Stuffed Animals

In addition to the Authority’s collection sheds, there are dozens of drop off locations in the two-County region provided by textile recyclers such as St. Pauly Textile, Rock Solid Charity and One World Center. You can view the full list of locations and accepted items at www.ohswa.org.

The Authority commends Oneida and Herkimer County residents and businesses for their participation in clothing donation and drop off programs as it not only conserves landfill space and energy but helps those in need. Clothing donations are also accepted at the CNY Veterans Outreach Center (Utica) and First Presbyterian Church (Utica).

While clothing and textiles can be reused and recycled through drop off programs, the Authority reminds residents that these materials cannot be placed in curbside recycling containers. “Clothing and textiles that are placed in curbside recycling containers are detrimental to the Authority’s Recycling Center operations,” stated Recycling Educator Jamie Tuttle. “These materials get wound and tangled in sorting equipment, which clogs and even stops our system, and should always be delivered to a drop off location for proper reuse and recycling,” continued Tuttle.

If you are not sure how to properly recycle or dispose of an item, the Authority encourages residents to visit its easy-to-use tool at www.AmIRecyclable.com to search hundreds of different items and learn all the answers. When items that are not accepted through the RecycleOne program are placed in recycling containers, they interfere with the recycling of acceptable items.

For more information on solid waste and recycling, please visit www.ohswa.org or contact (315) 733-1224. You may also ask questions and find more information on the Authority’s Facebook Page (Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority).