During the 2019 waste composition study at the Alberni Valley Landfill, a surprisingly high percentage of textiles (clothing, shoes, belts, material, linens) was picked out of the garbage. Eleven per cent of the randomly selected garbage that was sorted during the study fell into the textile category.
Over the past 15 years the fashion industry has seen enormous growth with one of the major components of this has been the introduction of fast fashion. Fast fashion can be defined as “quick-release products with a short renewal cycle and fast delivery.”
Clothing is now commonly viewed as a disposable product, which has increased our level of consumerism, reduced the desire to mend clothing as it breaks and increased the overall amount of clothing headed to our local landfill.
What are your options when your item no longer “brings you joy?”
Although there are currently no drop-off options due to COVID-19 measures, you’re encouraged to hold onto your items until these stores are able to reopen, rather than taking it to the landfill as garbage.
Port Alberni has a variety of secondhand clothing stores that accept gently used clothing, belts, shoes (in pairs please). This is a viable option for clothing to get a second life. Other organizations that will accept gently used clothing and get them to people in need include the Friendship Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Shelter Society.
Before throwing these items in the garbage, consider if they could be repurposed as rags. The Salvation Army does make up rag bags but asks that when you drop off, indicate it is for rags. Another option is considering the local SPCA which accepts old linens, sleeping bags, blankets, and towels to use at their animal shelters. Stains and discolourations are not an issue.
Just a reminder that at this time, non-essential trips to the landfill are discouraged and that people should expect line-ups as traffic is being limited to meet the social distancing requirements. Therefore, please stockpile to minimize your trips to the landfill, and pre-sort your recyclable items to reduce wait times. As always, be courteous to those working at the landfill as they’re part of our essential service crew and deserve a thank you!
For more information on local recycling services you can refer to the ACRD website at acrd.bc.ca/recycling or look at the new Facebook page: Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education.