The City of Markham’s award-winning textile recycling program has reached a major milestone: keeping more than 20 million pounds (907,000 kilograms) of unwanted textiles out of landfill.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has safely maintained textile program operations to protect our planet and support local charities when they need it most. In the past 13 months alone, residents have dropped off more than 3.5 million pounds (158,000 kilograms) of textiles at Markham’s 160 city-operated bins.
“The City of Markham’s award-winning textile recycling program continues to reach new heights with over 20 million pounds diverted from landfills, and further advances and strengthens our sustainability goals and objectives,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said.
“The success of the program is a testament to the determination and commitment of Markham residents who want to shape a greener future and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Markham’s first-of-its kind textile recycling program was launched as a response to findings that each household in the community was sending approximately 33 pounds (15 kilograms) of textiles to landfill every year when an estimated 95 per cent of this could be reused, resold or recycled into new products.
In October 2016, city-managed donation bins were installed across Markham in high-traffic, convenient locations, replacing more than 200 unlicensed textile bins.
In April 2017, Markham became the first Canadian city to ban textiles from collection in the garbage or blue box.
The City of Markham encourages residents not to let fashion go to waste. The recycling program accepts all textiles, even items that are torn or stained, including:
- Bathing suits, bathrobes, bibs, boxers and bras
- Boots, shoes, belts and backpacks
- Pants, shirts, sweaters and jeans
- Curtains, cushions, pillows, blankets, sleeping bags and quilts
- Rags, small rugs, oven mitts and towels
Items in good condition are sold at thrift stores, diverting unnecessary waste from landfill, saving natural resources and helping to generate funding and jobs to help those in need through The Salvation Army Thrift Store, Diabetes Canada and Value Village.
Items that cannot be reused or re-worn will be recycled into new products, such as rags, paper, insulation or shredded for stuffing or fiber recycling.
Markham’s textile program has been recognized with awards from both the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA). It serves as a strong model for other municipalities to follow.
The program was made possible through a $67,000 grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities under the Green Municipal Fund.
Remember that you can reduce, reuse and recycle by:
- Cleaning out your closet and dropping off your unwanted textiles at one of Markham’s donation bins
- Recycling styrofoam packaging at Markham’s community recycling depots
- Shopping with reusable bags to reduce the use of single-use plastics
- Applying for one of Markham’s sustainability grants to bring your green ideas to life
- Using the What Goes Where tool on the Access Markham mobile app or on the City website
As a leader of sustainable practices in North America, the City of Markham prides itself on its eco-friendly infrastructure and facility improvements, its 80 per cent curbside waste diversion rate, the Greenprint – Markham’s Community Sustainability Plan and its commitment to educating, enabling and inspiring members of the community to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Find the nearest textile recycling bin at markham.ca/recycling.