Donations could be on the rise following new textile trash ban regulations

This new law bans the disposal of textile items, like mattresses, clothes, shoes, and more. We are getting answers from local elected officials for the options
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A new law went into effect Tuesday, changing how you are allowed to dispose of used clothes and shoes. Now, city leaders are working out how to navigate the new ban.

This new law bans the disposal of textile items, like mattresses, clothes, shoes, and more. We are getting answers from local elected officials for the options community members have.

As of Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection expanded its waste bans to include textile items, such as clothing, towels, bedding, and mattresses.

They are encouraging Bay State residents to reuse, repurpose, or recycle those items.

“Their idea is to take things that could be recycled or reused out of the waste stream, and ideally, that cost us less because we’re paying less to throw all this stuff away,” said West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt.

Western Mass News met with Mayor Reichelt to learn what options people have now that this ban is in place.

For large items like mattresses, you will have to call local private companies and pay to have those items recycled.

For other textiles, Mayor Reichelt suggested donating as much as possible.

“You can bring them to Salvation Army in Westfield or Savers in West Springfield to have them reused,” he told us. “If they are in good condition, they will sell them.”

You can even send used blankets or towels over to your local animal shelter.

We checked in with the Salvation Army to see if they are expecting an increase in donations, and they are actually looking forward to it.

“We will continue to accept textiles,” said Director of Business Tim Tierney. “Give us your used clothing, shoes. Bring it to us and we’ll put it to good use.”

They just ask that people handle those donations with care, and make sure they are dropped off during business hours, as they are worried that once those clothes and shoes are ruined, they, too, will have to figure out how to dispose of them.

“Say the bin is full and they leave it outside, so we’re going to run into that because we can’t get rid of wet clothes and we can’t sell it,” Tierney said.

Agawam Mayor Bill Sapelli is worried this ban may lead to an increase in illegal dumping.

“Unfortunately, there’s always a small percentage of irresponsible people that will just dump it somewhere they shouldn’t, and that is a big concern,” he told us.

Mayor Reichelt said that West Springfield residents who are caught throwing away banned items will be fined by the city. To prevent that from happening, he is considering offering a textile dropoff day for the city.

“We may look into doing something like we do for hazardous waste and have like a pickup day where you can sign up and leave those things with us and we’ll take care of disposing them in partnership with the state,” he explained.

If a clothing item is deemed damaged with mold, bodily fluids, insects, or hazardous substances, they are exempt from the ban and you can still dispose them in your trash.