CORNWALL, Ontario – The City of Cornwall’s annual Give a Shirt initiative has announced that this year, they have collected 18,760 lbs of gently used clothing and textiles for local thrift shops and shelters.
Over the course of one week, from Oct. 18 to 23 residents were invited to leave out their used clothing, shoes, or linen in a bag marked “Give a Shirt” on their regular garbage collection day.
In 2020, much of these items were collected by Steve Smith and Lonnie McCracken, members of the waste management division.
“When you see how much clothing waste there is, it’s really overwhelming,” said Smith. “Our thrift stores can’t keep up with how much we bring in over the course of one week.”
Agape Centre’s New For You, Baldwin House’s Serendipity Boutique, and the Salvation Army thrift store with anything leftover being sent to Value Village and other regional thrift stores.
In addition to supporting local thrift stores and shelters, the goal of the Give a Shirt initiative was to divert textile waste away from the Cornwall landfill.
The Cornwall landfill has approximately a decade worth of space left in it and the estimated cost to close the landfill is over $35 million and that price tag does not take into consideration the cost of opening a new landfill.
“Every piece of clothing we pick up over the week is kept out of the landfill,” said Dave Kuhn, Waste Management Supervisor. “I’d like to take that a step further – can we reduce the amount of textile waste we create?”
The City of Cornwall offers the following tips to help avoid textile waste:
- Shopping at thrift stores and vintage clothing stores (in addition to those we’ve listed earlier, used clothing can be purchased locally at Echo Trends and DG1 Vintage)
- Quality over quantity: instead of buying three pairs of low-quality pants, consider choosing one higher-quality pair that will last longer
- Avoiding fast fashion – clothing that will wear out quickly
- Collecting the classics – clothing that won’t go out of style
- Organizing swaps and hand-me-down events with family and friends
- Repairing, repurposing, and, when all else fails, recycling: some thrift stores, like Agape Centre’s New For You, accept clothing for recycling