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Council has second thoughts on clothes recycling program

Thursday, January 26, 2017 by Jack Craver

Some members of City Council are concerned that a program aimed at encouraging recycling of old clothes may be putting local businesses and nonprofits in a tough spot. On Thursday, Council will discuss concerns voiced by local thrift stores about a program started last month that allows residents to leave old clothes on the curb to be picked up by Simple Recycling, an Ohio-based company that pays the city for the privilege of collecting and recycling or reselling the clothes for profit. In addition to the concern that the arrangement could potentially undercut local stores that depend on donated clothes, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo added that a large percentage of what Simple Recycling collects is exported internationally, potentially undermining textile businesses in the developing world. Austin Resource Recovery staff told Council members during a Tuesday work session that the city netted roughly $1,200 from the program in December.

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