Kerbside collections of clothes and shoes start again this week, but with tough new conditions.
No textiles – bedding or curtains – will be taken, and the clothes and shoes must be of good enough quality to be worn again.
Anything of lesser quality should be considered for other uses at home – such as cleaning rags or cloth wipes.
Failing that, it should be put in the rubbish and will go to a new Resource Recovery Centre where it will be used to generate electricity.
Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is committed to recycling or reusing everything it collects. These new conditions reflect the near-collapse of the global second-hand market caused by COVID-19 and the rise of disposable fashion.
Textile collections have been suspended in Somerset since April, when COVID-19 saw the national and international markets grind to a halt.
While charity shops are normally the best route for good quality textiles, clothes and shoes, many are currently limiting the donations they accept because of the complications that have come with COVID-19. Some high-street stores now also accept clothes for reuse.
Mickey Green, Managing Director of SWP, is happy to see collections begin again but is urging residents to heed the “good quality only” message in what is a tough time for textile recycling.
He said: “The only market that currently exists is for good quality clothes and shoes, everything else will unfortunately be disposed of. So, if you want your clothes to be recycled they have to still be wearable. That’s the difficult reality we have to work with at the moment.
“Somerset has a great track record on recycling, and we trust people to do the right thing because they understand the environmental benefits.
“Now more than ever is it’s important to think about reducing and reusing before thinking about recycling.”
For information about how to reduce and reuse your waste, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk and follow @somersetwaste on Twitter and Facebook.