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Bronx Joins Million Pound Challenge

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Recycling initiative aims to remove 1 million pounds of clothing from nyc's waste.

A local initiative to keep used clothing and other materials out of landfills is creeping closer to its goal. The Bronx is the latest borough to join GrowNYC’s Million Pound Challenge, which calls on New Yorkers to bring unwanted or worn out garments to one of 8 weekly drop-off sites.  Instead of going to waste, materials are sorted and redistributed to secondhand clothing markets, rag makers and fiber recyclers.

GrowNYC has offered clothing & textile recycling collections at select Greenmarkets since 2007. The Challenge launched in September and over 830,000 pounds have been collected with a goal of hitting the million pound mark by December 31. 
 
In addition to 8 Greenmarkets in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, now residents can drop their unwanted clothing and textiles at the Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket located on Grand Concourse and 161st Street four Tuesdays in November (Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23) from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
 
“When the City published the findings of its comprehensive Waste Characterization Study in 2006 we were shocked to see that 6% of our waste consists of textiles. As NYC residents, we’re all responsible for doing our part. With the great borough of the Bronx on board, we’re confident we can divert 1 million lbs. of textiles from the landfill this year.” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen.
 
“We are proud to be hosting the textile recycling drive here at the Borough Hall Greenmarket. I encourage all Bronxites to clean out their closets this month and bring their old clothing and textiles to be reused and recycled. Your clothing donations may provide someone else with a thrift shop “bargain,” as well as reduce our waste stream,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
 
Aside from environmental benefits—there are financial rewards, as well. Each ton of material kept out of the trash represents a savings to taxpayers, who foot the bill for sending discards to out of state landfills. 

“Every pound of textiles recycled though the GrowNYC recycling program is one less pound that we will have haul to a landfill and bury,” said David Bragdon, the Mayor’s Sustainability Director. “The only way we can meet the ambitious goals in the Solid Waste Management Plan and in PlaNYC is through innovative programs like this one.”
   
The challenge happens to fall during harvest season, when the markets are bursting with just-picked local produce.  “Greenmarkets are community centers of sustainability. We know the material is out there, and what better way to promote recycling than invite our shoppers to come to market with their bags of unwanted textiles, and go home with fresh produce grown by regional farmers,” said Michael Hurwitz, Director of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program.   
 
For more information on the challenge, please visit here or call 212-788-7964.

 

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Photo Dave Sanders