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Metro Vancouver targets clothing waste in new campaign

Metro Vancouver's campaign encourages residents to "reduce, repair and re-use" their clothing
thrift store clothing waste
Metro Vancouver says shopping second hand is a great way to reduce textile waste. Photo: Pixabay

Instead of buying too many clothes or tossing away used textiles, Metro Vancouver is launching a campaign asking consumers to “think thrice” about clothing waste.

Clothing waste has become one of the fastest growing waste categories, according to Metro Vancouver, as residents in the region tossed away more than 44 million pounds of textiles last year. That number equates to the weight of 44 t-shirts per person.

“We buy an astonishing three times as much clothing as we did back in the 1980s,” said Jack Froese, chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee in a press release. “Much of this ‘fast fashion’ is relatively cheap to buy and ends up in the trash, when it could otherwise have been repaired or recycled.”



Metro Vancouver’s "Think Thrice About Your Clothes" campaign urges residents to consider reducing consumption, repairing clothes, rather than throwing them away, buying quality goods that will last longer or shopping in second hand stores.

Metro Vancouver says it also hopes to explain how unwanted items can be disposed of. While second-hand clothing shops welcome donations, they must be clean, dry and packaged in a plastic bag or box. Items that are mouldy, paint-stained or covered in oil cannot be re-used or recycled.

“If second-hand retailers can’t use an item they will pack it up and ship it to markets that can use them,” said Metro Vancouver Chair Sav Dhaliwal. “With help from residents we can keep textiles out of the garbage and help our region divert more waste out of our landfills.”

In Richmond, a pilot program through Return-It was recently announced to help collect gently used clothing and other household textiles. From March to May, Richmondites can drop off textiles at the Ironwood Return-It location, near Steveston Highway and No. 5 Road.

“Our new textiles program is about convenience,” said Allen Langdon, president and CEO of Encorp Pacific which has partnered with Return-It to offer the textile recycling pilot program. “We want to give British Columbians more options for giving their textiles a second life, with the ultimate goal of keeping those items out of landfills to support a circular economy.”

Alternatively, there are multiple second hand shops in Richmond where residents can shop for gently used clothes or donate their own items for resale.

  • BC SPCA Thrift Store - 5400 Minoru Blvd.
  • RAPS Thrift Stores - 8260 Granville Ave. and 9040 Francis Rd.
  • SOS Children’s Village Thrift Store - 3800 Moncton St.
  • Richmond Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store - 3731 Chatham St.
  • Value Village - 8240 Granville Ave.

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