Hennepin County Ends Textile Recycling Program
In the aftermath of the holiday season, Hennepin County’s recycling drop-off site in Brooklyn Park became one of the most popular destinations in town.
But as 2020 begins, the county’s popular textile recycling program comes to an unceremonious end.
“We just felt it was disingenuous continuing the program, knowing that we weren’t 100 percent sure what was happening to it,” said Carolyn Collopy, the acting supervising environmentalist for Hennepin County.
Collopy is one of the people who helped establish the textile recycling program in 2016.
“Residents are always looking for outlets for material that is not usable but they don’t want to throw away,” she said.
Since 2016, Hennepin County acted as that outlet for people to help ensure that unwanted textiles wouldn’t end up in the waste stream.
Hennepin County didn’t want textiles to end up as trash
In 2018 alone, the county collected 43 tons of materials. But over time, they could no longer guarantee that the fabrics would be recycled.
“The material was going out of the country for the most part,” Collopy said. “And it was getting bought, I mean, there is a demand for this material, but to what extent the torn and soiled textiles were getting recycled, we couldn’t confirm.”
In other words, the county didn’t want to export something that could eventually end up as trash.
“If we generate trash here, we should deal with it here,” Collopy said. “”We shouldn’t be sending it to another country to become their burden.”
With that in mind, they decided to end the textile recycling program on Dec. 31, 2019.
Going forward, Collopy hopes people think twice before updating their wardrobe with new merchandise.
“Buying secondhand is a great option to help with that oversupply of clothing that is constantly flooding our economy,” Collopy said.
County officials say any textiles that can’t be donated should go in the trash. If you’re looking for places to donate textiles that people can reuse, go to https://www.hennepin.us/choose-to-reuse.