CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A new state law takes effect on Tuesday that changes what you are allowed to throw in your trash.
Massachusetts DEP is expanding its waste disposal bans to include textiles and mattresses, to encourage people to use existing recycling programs. People and businesses in Massachusetts dispose of approximately 230,000 tons of textiles annually, which is six times more than the amount that is recycled. 85% of those could be donated, re-used, or recycled.
Northampton resident Thomas Campbell said, “I really appreciate them doing whatever they can. I usually try and donate it to one of those yellow boxes you see everywhere. Otherwise I do a lot of tag sale-ing and repurposing with my friends.”
Recycled textile items can be re-worn or converted into recycled fiber products, such as car-seat stuffing or insulation. On top of clothes, more than 600,000 mattresses and box springs are discarded each year.
They can be disassembled and recycled into carpet, industrial oil filters, metal scrap, and even landscaping mulch. If you have to get rid of a mattress, 96 cities and towns in Massachusetts participate in the state’s mattress recycling grant program.
To cut down on waste here in Massachusetts, the state wants you to dispose of textiles using boxes like these, but you can’t exactly fit a mattress in there. What about bulky textile items like blankets or comforters? These boxes may have rules against those, so where do you go if you don’t know where to turn? The state has a tool.
You can use the state’s “Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory” to search by material and find the best way to recycle almost anything. A good place to start: Valley Recycling in Easthampton.
They’ll take your sorted recycling and residential trash off your hands, and already have a mattress recycling program in place.
“I think we’ve become such a disposable society. The landfills are just filling up, and I think it’s just going to become even more of a problem, so the more recycling we can do, the better,” expressed David Ames of Northampton.
Finally, the new ban also lowers the amount of commercial organic and food waste. Bay Staters throw away around one million tons of food waste per year that could be donated, composted, or used as animal feed instead. This is all part of the state’s 2030 solid waste master plan, which aims to reduce disposal state-wide by 30% over the next decade, and by 90% by 2050.