New program lets Trumbull residents get rid of old clothes without leaving home

Photo of Amanda Cuda
These donation bins in Stamford, owned by Standard Recycling Corporation, are among numerous ones located throughout the state. Trumbull is starting a program where instead of taking their clothes for recycling, residents can schedule a pick up of these items.

These donation bins in Stamford, owned by Standard Recycling Corporation, are among numerous ones located throughout the state. Trumbull is starting a program where instead of taking their clothes for recycling, residents can schedule a pick up of these items.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL — Mary Isaac knows what it’s like to have a stack of perfectly good items that she doesn’t need, but that won’t be accepted by a lot of charitable organizations.

“If no one is going to take your towels, sheets, or underwear — what are you going to do with them?” said Isaac, a member of Trumbull’s Town Council. More often than not, she said, these items get tossed in the trash.

That’s a shame, said Isaac, who is also a Town Council representative with Sustainable Trumbull, a citizen-led group focused on making Trumbull more fiscally, socially, and environmentally sustainable.

To help cut down on textile-based waste, the town has already partnered with Bay State Textiles, which has bins at Hillcrest and Madison middle schools where people can donate used clothes and household textiles, such as sheets.

Now the town is taking another step in keeping cloth out of landfills, and has partnered with HELPSY, the largest clothing collector in the Northeast. Beginning Saturday, Trumbull residents can arrange to have unwanted textiles picked up at their homes.

Pickups happen weekly and residents can schedule an appointment at www.helpsy.co/trumbullct . Clothing should be clean, dry, bagged and left outside prior to 7 a.m. the morning of pickup.

According to a release, HELPSY diverted nearly 30 million pounds of textiles from landfills last year. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that, in 2018 alone, 11.3 million tons of textiles ended up in landfills and only about 2.5 million tons were recycled.

Isaac said programs such as Bay State and HELPSY are beneficial to the environment, and the items collected are reused to help others. The programs also benefit the town of Trumbull, which Isaac said receives $100 per ton collected through Bay State and $60 per ton collected through HELPSY.

All of the money collected through these programs goes to sustainability programs in town, Isaac said.

The added benefit of HELPSY, Isaac said, is that people can sustainably dispose of unwanted items without even leaving their homes. “This is one more way to make it easier for people to do the right thing environmentally,” she said.

HELPSY accepts clean, dry, and bagged clothing and fashion accessories (gently used, like-new or worn) including dresses, shirts, pants, suits, coats, gloves, hats, belts, ties, scarves, wallets, purses, backpacks, totes, footwear, bedding, curtains, placemats, tablecloths, stuffed animals, and jewelry.  Items that will not be accepted include breakable houseware or glass, electronics, furniture, building material, scrap metal, appliances, mattresses, encyclopedia sets, phone books or magazines. 

For more information about Trumbull Recycling Programs contact the Trumbull Sustainable Team at sustainabletrumbull@gmail.com. To learn about HELPSY municipal partnerships or to schedule a clothing drive fundraiser go to www.helpsy.co.