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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Yolo County launches textile recycling program 

Yolo County Central Landfill now accepting fabrics for resale and reprocessing


By LEVI GOLDSTEIN city@theaggie.org


The Yolo County Central Landfill (YCCL) opened a textile recycling program for Yolo County residents, according to a press release on May 9.

Marissa Juhler, the Yolo County landfill operations and waste reduction manager, said that YCCL operates several waste disposal and recycling programs in order to meet Yolo County’s strategic plan sustainability goals and California state law SB 1383 targets for waste reduction, including for electronics, hazardous materials, liquids, soil and even mattresses. 

“[We’re] running an efficient operation here for our customers so that we’re a one stop shop,” Juhler said. “That’s probably the most important thing is that when folks come out here to the landfill that we have something — to its highest and best use — to divert the stuff they’re trying to get rid of.”

Davis Community Meals and Housing (DCMH), a local non-profit organization that serves individuals experiencing housing insecurity, receives donations of second-hand clothing that they redistribute, according to DCMH Executive Director Bill Pride.

“Living in the streets, you go through clothing pretty fast,” Pride said. “It gets dirty. There’s not a real easy way to wash it. What happens is you end up looking for new stuff quite frequently.”

DCMH won an Environmental Recognition Award for their efforts to reduce food waste. However, they currently do not have a textile recycling program, nor has Pride heard of one existing in the county. The new fabrics recycling program fills a niche that is greatly needed in the community. 

“People just tend to overbuy stuff,” Pride said. “You either wear it or don’t wear it, and after a little bit, it gets thrown out.”

Now, Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Yolo County residents can bring clothing, rags, bedsheets, shoes and sleeping bags to the YCCL textile recycling bin. According to Juhler, the collection is sent to the ICL Thrift Store in Woodland, which sorts the items into what is to be resold in their store and what is to be shipped to facilities in Los Angeles to be reprocessed into area rugs. 

The program has certain limitations. Currently, it cannot accept wet fabrics. Juhler said they are still trying to get operations to run as smoothly as possible.
“When things get wet and soiled, they start to mold, and they can contaminate the whole entire bale of clothing,” Juhler said. “We’re going to have to figure out the staffing to be able to monitor that bin and that area in the public dropoff so that things that need to truly go to landfill go to landfill and that we can still recover as much as possible.”

Residents are encouraged to continue to donate to organizations like DCMH and local thrift stores. Still, the new recycling program is proving to be helpful, with about 4.6 tons of fabric brought to the YCCL since its founding.
“There wasn’t a place to take the stuff that doesn’t have a reusable life,” Juhler said. “Really getting the word out that we have a home for that material now is important.”

Written by: Levi Goldstein — city@theaggie.org



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