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Recycling Corner: Pink Bags

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No. Not those pink bags.
This week’s column is about pink bags. No. Not Victoria’s Secrets pink bags. No. Not Kate Spade Wellesley Durhams. Just Simple Recycling pink bags. Let’s focus.

First in the Bay State
Brookline was the first municipality in Massachusetts to enter into an agreement with Simple Recycling, a for profit company started in the Midwest. Since we began in May of 2017, several other Bay State cities and towns have joined the program.

Why Brookline?
We were looking for easy ways to get residents to keep from throwing away articles that could actually be given new lives. A trash audit conducted by the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) revealed lots of no longer need clothes, textiles, shoes and usable household goods were showing up in our municipal solid waste. Giving residents options was particularly compelling with the advent of pay-as- you-throw. Simple recycling seemed to have a solution.

The program works
Many households have been enthusiastic about the service. “It’s easy!” “It’s simple!” (Duh) “You get replacement bags tied to your blue cart!” “It’s an incentive to tackle those closets I’ve been talking about for the last ten years!” Fill a pink bag with no longer needed clothes, textiles, shoes and usable home goods. Leave the bag beside your blue recycling cart on your collection day. A driver in a Simple Recycling van will pick it up and leave a new bag on your recycling cart. As the man said, it is simple!

Nothing’s perfect.
There have been missed pickups – neighborhoods that new drivers were not aware of. The contents of forgotten pink bags moldering away over a rainy weekend at the curb. But the customer service agent, based in Michigan, has been unwaveringly polite, apologetic and
responsive.

Where’s it go?
Our pink bags are taken to Simple Recycling’s facility in Woburn. It is weighed and loaded onto a trailer and sent to a processor who picks out the articles that are good enough to be resold in secondhand thrift stores – about 10-15% of the load. The rest of the trailer load is divided into things slated for international export or the wiping rag industry, the flocking industrythen goes to an international exporter

What about donating clothing and home goods to charities instead?
Yes! Please continue to do that. Many charities depend on such donations. The pink bag program is an alternative. It is a service for those who do not have the time, the schedule, the transportation or some other reason to take that extra step.

The Recycling Corner is prepared and submitted by a member of the Brookline Solid Waste Advisory Committee, in partnership with the Department of Public Works Sanitation Division. The selection of material for publication in the Recycling Corner
does not necessarily imply endorsement by the Town, nor do the views expressed herein necessarily reflect official positions of the Town unless so stated.

For more information on Sanitation, Recycling and Hazardous Waste, please visit here.