This past weekend, I spent 20 minutes or so with my body halfway immersed in recycling carts pulling out textiles (clothes/bedsheets/linens, in general) and soiled paper because, well, you cannot recycle textiles or soiled paper in your blue curbside recycling cart.
Plus, I get a kick out of diving head first into recycling and garbage carts in general … just kidding.
But I do know what kind of havoc tangling textiles and film/flexible/soft plastic have on our equipment … and it is not pretty. Curious? Check out Napa Recycling’s Facebook page to see a photo and video of what it looks like.
That being said, while removing things that do not belong in the blue recycling carts is a weekend cart-diving adventure for me, it’s an ongoing battle for the hand sorters and mechanical equipment at the recycling facility – a battle that has only gotten more and more dangerous over the years.
Why? Batteries (well that is just one thing, there is a slew of others that I won’t discuss here).
If I could add a flashing “Warning!” sign to this article, it would be here.
Batteries are corrosive and toxic, so you can imagine what happens when one ends up going through giant machinery or is run over by a large vehicle: KABOOM = fire. In the last year, we have had more than two fires started because of an “innocent” battery being disposed of improperly in a blue curbside recycling cart. And please do not throw them in your black landfill curbside cart either!
I am not sure why people think that batteries can be recycled in the blue curbside recycling cart or why three of the recycling carts in my apartment complex were filled with pretty decent clothes – maybe someone moved in, moved out, or maybe Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” took ahold of them– but tossing out clothes or batteries into one of your three curbside carts should not be a thing.
Did you know that in 2015 in the U.S. alone, 16.22 million tons of textile waste was generated and only 2.62 million of that was recycled – that is about a 16.2 percent recycling rate (aka a grade of F-).
And yet, nearly 100 percent of textiles are recyclable.
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So how can you “recycle” textiles or batteries if you cannot put them into your recycling (or landfill ... or compost) cart?
Well, I am glad you asked, dear reader!
There are a couple options here in the City of Napa (and surrounding unincorporated south county) to recycle some random items that are not permitted in your curbside cart – like textiles and batteries.
Some local drop-off locations in town for wearable clothes include, but are not limited to: Community Projects, American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, The Clothing Center, Goodwill, and Salvation Army.
There are 18 locations in the city of Napa where one can drop off their used household batteries, free of charge. Check out the Recycling Guide at www.NapaRecycling.com for a full list.
If that doesn’t work for you, you can use the Recycle More program — a free curbside pickup program for bagged textiles and shoes (clear bag, please!), appliances, electronics, large pieces of metal, and used cooking oil. You can even recycle your used batteries (when paired with another item listed above) using this program! Talk about convenient.
Note: Using the Recycle More program, textiles do not have to be in wearable condition, as clothing in poor condition, including stained or torn clothing/linens, will be redirected and recycled into rags or carpet insulation. One caveat: they cannot be damp or wet.
You’ve read that right! You can recycle, free of charge:
- Textiles, electronics, appliances, oversize metal, used cooking oil, and used household batteries.
To complete a free curbside pickup with Recycle More, go online to www.NapaRecycling.com and click the Recycle More link or call Napa Recycling and Waste Services at 707-255-5200 and they will schedule your pickup!