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Reaching zero waste

Let’s get textiles out of the landfill

As Mayor of San Francisco, I am very proud that our city diverts 80 percent of its waste from the landfill, one of the highest diversion rates in North America. This is good for our environment, helps us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and puts us well on our way to reach our goal of zero waste in 2020. San Franciscans should be proud of how much we have recycled and composted, yet we still need to take responsibility for the remaining items going to the landfill. One of our targets this year is textiles.

Why textiles? Do you know that San Franciscans are sending 4,500 pounds of textiles to landfill each hour? Textiles are one of the top five materials we send to our landfill.

We launched the Zero Waste Textile Initiative to tackle this problem. In a first-of-its-kind partnership in the nation, San Francisco has teamed up with local retailers, large and small, along with our nonprofit partners and schools to expand and unify San Francisco’s textile reuse and recycling market.

Clothes, shoes, and other items that are in good condition hold a great deal of value for our local textile reuse market. I encourage our residents to donate these items to nonprofit organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army. This will keep usable textiles local and will provide jobs for our residents.

However, not all textiles can be reused locally. Until recently, San Franciscans could only put items like worn-out athletic shoes in the black garbage bin. Not anymore. Thanks to our Zero Waste Textile Initiative, items like worn-out athletic shoes, well-worn linens, and clothing can be given a second life. Just drop them off at one of the many “SF Save Fashion” textile collection boxes in San Francisco.

Currently, there are over 100 locations across the city at local businesses, community organizations, office buildings and schools, where residents can drop-off their unwanted textiles. Instead of tossing them into the black garbage bin to waste away in the landfill, these items will be reused or recycled into new products like insulation material, flooring, or cushioning in stuffed toys, insoles, and bags. The initiative prevents textiles from ending up in the landfill and it conserves resources and creates jobs. It is good for our environment and our economy.

I hope you will work with me to make this initiative a success. You can learn more about the initiative and find a drop-off location near you at sfenvironment.org/textiles.

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