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Markham’s recycle keeps 20M pounds of textiles out of landfill

Toronto, April 22: In observance of Earth Day, the City of Markham’s award-winning textile recycling program has reached to more than 20 million pounds (907,000 kilograms) of unwanted textiles out of the landfill. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Markham has safely maintained textile program operations to protect our planet and support local charities when they needed most. In the past 13 months alone, residents have dropped off more than 3.5 million pounds (158,000 kilograms) of textiles at Markham’s 160 city-operated bins. 

“The City of Markham’s award-winning textile recycling program continues to reach new heights with over 20 million pounds diverted from landfills, and further advances and strengthens our sustainability goals and objectives,” said Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “The success of the program is a testament to the determination and commitment of Markham residents who want to shape a greener future and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

In October 2016, Markham’s first-of-its kind textile recycling program was launched as a response to findings that each household in the community was sending approximately 33 pounds (15 kilograms) of textiles to landfill every year when an estimated 95 per cent of this could be reused, resold or recycled into new products. In April 2017, Markham became the first Canadian city to ban textiles from collection in the garbage or blue box.

Currently the City of Markham encourages residents about recycling, which accepts all textile items, bathing garments, shoes, backpacks, as well as pants, shirts, sweaters and jeans, curtains, cushions, pillows, blankets, sleeping bags and quilts, rags, small rugs, oven mitts and towels.

However, items those are in good condition are sold at thrift stores, diverting unnecessary waste from landfill, saving natural resources and helping to generate funding and jobs to help those in need through The Salvation Army Thrift Store, Diabetes Canada and Value Village. And, items that cannot be reused or re-worn will be recycled into new products, such as rags, paper, insulation or shredded for stuffing or fiber recycling.

Meanwhile, Markham’s textile program has been recognized with awards from both the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA). It serves as a strong model for other municipalities to follow. The program was made possible through a $67,000 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities under the Green Municipal Fund.

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