SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Think twice the next time you’re about to throw away some old, worn-out pants or a lonely, rogue sock. San Francisco has become the first city in the country to launch a campaign to recycle clothing in a way similar to how bottles, cans, and cardboard are recycled.
The Zero Waste Textile Initiative launched on Wednesday at the Westfield Centre on Market Street. Part of the program’s intent is to get clothing companies to participate in the city’s goal of achieving zero waste by 2020.
Melanie Nutter, director of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, was on hand at Wednesday’s launch. Nutter said by keeping the used textiles out of the landfill, they could be turned into insulation, playground equipment and carpeting. Items that can be recycled include clothing, linens and even shoes.
There are 160 recycling bins at retailers all around the city. Nutter made the first deposit herself at the Westfield Centre.
“Here I have an unmatched sock that I found in my closet and it has been sitting there with many unmatched socks— not just for months, but for years and now I know what to do with it and get it back in circulation,” Nutter said.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle the company that will be recycling these items into more useful things is called I:Collect or I:CO.
There will also be new Goodwill bins all around the city to drop off things that can still be worn.
On average, San Franciscans throw away more than two tons of textiles every hour.