I donate a lot of clothing to charity. My weight fluctuates up and down, and I respond by buying new clothes. After a while, I come to grips with the fact that I will never wear certain things again, but someone else can. They go to charity.

Sometimes – rarely, but sometimes – I wear something until there is nothing left but threads. At that point, if the article is too badly worn to stuff in a donation box or drop at Savers, I would toss it in the dumpster – but that is no longer an option.

In November of 2022, Massachusetts banned the disposal of textiles. Mass.gov defines textiles as, "clothing, footwear, bedding, curtains, fabric, and similar items that are clean and dry." The site says, "Even if your textiles are worn, torn, or stained, they can still be donated to a textile recycler."

This practice is called "textile recovery."

Massachusetts Mandates The Recycling Of Old Clothes
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

Massachusetts has established a website, Beyond the Bin, where you can find a location to "donate" all of the junk you used to throw away. From computers, mattresses, clothing, furniture, books, appliances, and more, there is a "textile collection bin, donation option, or recycler near you" to dispose of it all.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has a 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan to reduce disposal statewide by 30 percent over the next decade.

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The state says, "Residents and businesses dispose of approximately 230,000 tons of textiles annually." According to Mass.gov, "About 85 percent of the textiles currently being thrown away could be donated, reused, or recycled instead."

There are 191 clothing recycling drop-off locations within 25 miles of New Bedford. You can drop them off, mail them in, or request someone pick them up, but don't throw old clothes in the trash, regardless of their appearance.

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