Pawtucket adds Curbside Textile Recycling to the mix

Pawtucket adds Curbside Textile Recycling to the mix

PAWTUCKET – As part of a multi-pronged approach to keeping more items out of the landfill, reducing costs, the city is now partnering with Warwick-based Curbside Textile Recycling to collect residents’ unwanted clothing and shoes on regular recycling days.

This collaboration is in addition to a new partnership with the nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization now adding more donation collection bins across Pawtucket.

Public Affairs Officer Wilder Arboleda said this is an innovative and easy solution.

“The city is proud to partner with Curbside Textile Recycling to provide yet another option for the community to dispose of gently used clothes for a good cause,” he said. “We want to promote as many different opportunities for our residents as possible to encourage clothing donations for those in need.”

Though the fledgling Curbside Textile Recycling is a for-profit company, says Melanie Flamand, who started the company a year ago with Marjorie Muller, the company sends 2 cents for every pound of items sold to local and state nonprofits. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, curbside drivers have been collecting non-perishable food items alongside their trademark yellow bags, with donations made to the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen and Amos House, among others.

Flamand said the company is excited to partner with Pawtucket going forward.

Over about a year, the company has diverted more than 225,000 pounds of clothing and shoes from the landfill, she said.

Asked how her company compares to Simple Recycling, with its pink bags, she said that the businesses are very similar, though she noted that Simple Recycling has almost completely pulled out of the state.

Flamand said residents will be given normal trash bags to start out, but after the first bags are picked up on regular recycling days, they’ll get a yellow bag in exchange. Each time a bag is picked up, a new yellow bag will be dropped off along daily routes. The Department of Public Works will also have bags available.

Curbside Recycling is working with the city to identify three Pawtucket nonprofits to receive a regular share of the 2 cents per pound, she said. Every bag is weighed, and the city gets a monthly report on the number of bags and pounds. Those numbers are used to determine the amount to be given to nonprofits through its Bag2Good program.

The pandemic has given people a lot of time to reorganize closets, but many are wondering what to do with all the excess clothes and shoes they no longer want, states a release from the city.

Curbside Recycling will begin its service on Nov. 30. Residents are instructed to simply put items, including clothes, shoes, pocketbooks, belts and ties, out on their regular recycling day. The bags should be placed outside the door in an area visible from the road and away from trash, and be in place before 7 a.m. Drivers will then do pickups from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Clothes are distributed around the world.

Flamand has been in the insurance business for more than 35 years and Muller is newly retired from a 32-year executive banking career. They say they were motivated a year ago this month to start their company based on goals of sustainability and helping others.

Three local charities will be selected every six months to receive the 2 cents per pound collected during that timeframe.

“The interest in our service has been overwhelming and the ability to bring to life a company whose purpose is to create a win for the planet, a win for Rhode Island jobs, and a win for local community organizations is just so fulfilling,” said Flamand.

“We want to thank everyone who is participating and encourage others to check us out on our website (curbsidetextilerecycling.com) and utilize our service,” said Muller.