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Solon Company Hopes Curbside Collection of Old Clothes Will Catch On

Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 1:08 PM

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Most of us are familiar with the curbside recycling of glass, plastic and newspapers, but a Northeast Ohio company has begun a program to collect old clothing and shoes and wearable accessories. ideastream's David C. Barnett has more.

Adam Winfield is the president of the Solon-based Simple Recycling and they have begun to sign agreements with local communities for the collection of clothing.

Winfield says his company sells about ten percent of what it collects to local thrift stores.  Another 10 percent is chopped-up so that the cottons, wools and polyesters can be re-used for base materials or filler.  But, 70 percent is sold to international buyers.

“It’s not of a quality or condition that’s acceptable in the U.S. market for re-use and re-wearing as clothing, but there’s other markets all over the world, that purchase these clothes and shoes and things like that so that they can be sold in international markets, to provide access to Western-style clothing at a reasonable price,” Winfield said.

Winfield says international trade in such materials is a long-standing practice, but what makes this program different is the application of a curbside recycling model to it.  The company has already started the program in Michigan and in Ohio’s Summit County, and they are looking to bring it to Bay Village, in October, this fall.

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