SWALCO offers Lake Zurich residents simple way to recycle old clothing

Lake Zurich to offer site to recycle old clothing through SWALCO

SWALCO offers Lake Zurich residents simple way to recycle old clothing

Lake Zurich’s Community Services Facility at 505 Telser Road will serve as a collection site for the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County’s (SWALCO) clothing and textile recycling program, according to the agreement approved by village officials on July 20.

The program, which currently has about 20 of SWALCO’s 43 municipal members participating, aims to mitigate the amount of clothing sent to landfills each year by placing a 7-by-4-foot bin in town, into which residents can toss their old blouses, pants, hats, drapes, bedspreads and more.

“Currently, 85 percent of the clothing and textiles in the United States end up in landfills,” Merleanne Rampale, SWALCO public information officer and education director, told village officials at the meeting.

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Bins have already been placed in Mundelein, Libertyville, Gurnee, Vernon Hills and Wauconda, among other towns.

According to a list of specifications provided on SWALCO’s website, the program will accept the usual, everyday wear, like blouses, pants, socks and sweatshirts, as well as other items like pet clothing and Halloween costumes. Household textiles like bedspreads, sheets, drapes, towels and washcloths are also acceptable.

SWALCO will not accept pillows, rugs, sleeping bags, carpet, mattresses, cushions, foam furniture, vinyl shower curtains or large luggage, due to processing limitations.

About 95 to 98 percent of everything collected in the bins will be recycled or reused, Rampale said. The entity doing that processing will be Chicago Textile Recycling (CTR), which is a division of Wipeco Inc., a national, Chicago-based supplier of rags and towels.

According to CTR, 45 percent of the items it receives will become second-hand clothing, 30 percent will be recycled into wiping cloths, and 15 percent will be reprocessed into fibers.

“The secondary items…will be recycled and turned into secondary products like rags, rugs [and] wiping cloths,” Rampale said.

Under its current contract with CTR, SWALCO receives 18 cents for every pound of clothing and textiles collected. The village of Lake Zurich will receive 33.3 percent of the total amount received per pound of materials collected, which is estimated to generate between $500 and $1,000 annually.

Rampale said that villages participating in the program have used the revenue for their park district scholarship programs and for rebates to residents purchasing compost bins and rain barrels.

Pavin is a freelancer.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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