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A Chance to Renew

New campus program turns unwanted textiles into reusable and recyclable items

When college students move out of residence halls each semester, they often throw things away. Some of those items end up in landfills and contribute to greenhouse gases, which is why Bridgewater State University started a textile recycle program.

Textiles include, but are not limited to, clothing, linens, shoes, belts, pocketbooks and even stuffed animals.

Easily identifiable bins for discarded textiles have been placed on both the west and east sides of campus, near the main entrance of Scott Hall and next to the parking garage by Weygand Hall.

“We feel we can easily help to try and keep some of these materials out of landfills,” said Stefanie Eaton, Facilities Management associate director. “These bins are easy for students to use. It’s something that’s simple and makes a big difference.”

In Massachusetts alone, residents and businesses dispose of approximately 230,000 tons of textiles annually. About 95 percent of this material could be reused or recycled, Eaton said.

Brianna Guaraldi, ’21, who works as a recycling floor worker at the university, often witnesses students throwing out textiles. She thinks the new bins are a great idea.

“As a biology major, I’m always looking at our changing climate,” she said. “Clothes and other textile products fill up our landfills and can cause methane and other greenhouse gases that affect our planet. Making these bins accessible for students, where they can easily bag up clothes instead of throwing them away and have them not end up in our landfills is a good thing.”

The bins are made possible, at no cost, through a partnership with Baystate Textiles.

Baystate Textiles collects the items once a week, sorts them, and decides what can be donated and what will be reused.

“Items don’t have to be perfect; they can even be ripped. As long as they are dry and odorless you can put them in the bins. Not everything will be resold, many items will be broken down and turned into reusable rags, for example,” Eaton said.

The only request is that items are bagged, not loosely thrown into the bins.

Bridgewater State will also receive a rebate from Baystate Textiles after the company weighs the contents. Rebates are determined by ton each month and will support the BSU Recycling Program.

In general, Brianna said, Bridgewater State does a good job with recycling and sustainability efforts. Adding the textile recycling program is just one more way to continue being environmentally responsible.

“It’s important that students continue to be cautious of how we dispose our waste and the effect it has on the planet,” she said.

For a complete list of what textile items are accepted click here.

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