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Poll: Majority of Richmond News readers tend to donate unwanted clothes

The City of Richmond is working on adding textile collection to its Recycling Depot.
Textile recycling might be coming to Richmond's recycling depot.

What do Richmondites usually do with unwanted clothing items?

This is a question that popped up in the Richmond News newsroom after a KPU Wilson School of Design student won an upcycle design competition with her dress crocheted with waste fabric.

The News polled 494 readers and asked the question: What do you do with your old clothes?

The poll ran from May 15 to 24, with almost 90 per cent of readers saying they would donate the clothes.

A minority said they would upcycle or toss the clothes, with six per cent and four per cent of votes respectively, and less than one per cent tend to sell unwanted clothing items.

Last month, Richmond City Council approved the staff recommendation to expand the Recycling Depot's intake to include textiles.

"While good opportunities exist to promote reuse through donation practices and Repair Fair events, these do not adequately address overall life cycle issues, including the negative environmental impacts," read the staff report.

Textile recycling was previously available at Return-It depots, but the pilot program was stopped because Return-It was unable to find a partner to accept the collected textiles.

According to city staff recommendations, the city would procure a collector to install dedicated post-consumer textile collection receptacles. They also recommended placing more emphasis on textile waste awareness in existing education campaigns and expanding existing repair fair events, which help community members repair textile items.

Staff estimates the cost of implementing depot drop-off and enhancing education will have an initial one-time cost of  $60,000, which can come from the General Solid Waste and Recycling Provision and the Consolidated 5 Year Financial Plan for 2024 to 2028.

There will also be ongoing annual costs of around $40,000, which will be considered during the 2025 budget process.

In a statement to the News, city spokesperson Clay Adams confirmed staff are working on adding textile collection to the Recycling Depot on Lynas Lane.

In the meantime, the city's repair fairs have been expanded to include sewing circles, where community members can learn the basics of sewing and simple clothing repairs.

The next repair fair for clothing, bike and lawnmower repair will take place at South Arm Community Centre on June 15. For more information, click here.

The full results are as follows:

Donate them 88.89% local, 86.84% total    
Upcycle 6.11% local, 4.05% total    
Throw them away 4.44% local, 8.30% total    
Sell them 0.56% local, 0.81% total    
  Local   Total

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