SALEM — Starting Saturday, April 24, residents can arrange for clothing and other household textiles to be picked up curbside and recycled for free. 

The city partnered with HELPSY, a New York-based textile collection company, to offer the free service. Pickups will take place weekly on Saturdays, and advance appointments are required. 

To arrange for a pickup, Salem residents should fill out the form at Donations should be left at the curb before 7 a.m. on the date chosen. 

“As a designated Green Community, Salem is dedicated to strengthening our commitment to recycling efforts,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a statement announcing the service. “Our recurring textile recycling events are always successful, but by expanding that into this new free curbside service, which will take place all year round, we’re making it even more convenient for residents to recycle textile items. This will help reduce the volume of our solid waste, saving money on trash disposal, as well as better meeting our community’s sustainability goals.”


HELPSY accepts clean, dry, and bagged clothing and fashion accessories including dresses, shirts, pants, suits, coats, gloves, hats, belts, ties, scarves, wallets, purses, backpacks, totes, shoes, towels, bedding, costumes, curtains, placements, pillows, stuffed animals, tablecloths, and throw rugs. These items will be accepted in any condition — stained, worn or torn, missing pairs or buttons, or with holes.

Breakable houseware or glass, electronics, furniture, building material, scrap metal, appliances, mattresses, encyclopedia sets, phone books, or magazines will not be accepted. 

On its website, HELPSYS explains that the items collected are first sorted based on their condition. Some items are resold to thrift stores and other second-hand markets. Others are turned into rags for industrial use, stuffing, or insulation.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person throws away 81 pounds of clothing each year. Of that amount, 95% can be recycled.

“We are excited to offer a convenient way for residents to dispose of old clothing sustainably,” Micaela Guglielmi, the city's waste reduction coordinator, said. “Between collection bins, clothing drives, and now this curbside collection service, there is no reason for textiles to end up in the trash.”

Residents who have questions about the program should contact Guglielmi at 978-619-5672.

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