Metro Vancouver is looking into a possible ban on clothing and textile waste in the region's landfills.

Much like its ban on food waste, residents who throw out their old clothes could be fined for doing so.

"Right now we're looking at doing some consultation for a disposal ban to see if we can ban textiles, including clothing, from disposal to help divert more clothing to either a reuse home or a recycling home," said Karen Storry, with the Metro Vancouver zero waste implementation team.

Storry said a 2015 waste analysis showed the average person in the region throws out 19 kilograms, or 42 pounds, of textiles every year. 

At this stage, she said, Metro Vancouver is still trying to determine why so much clothing is thrown out every year — whether it's because the clothes aren't reusable or if it's a lack of knowledge about where they can donate them. 

Storry said Metro Vancouver will consult with stakeholders before any sort of ban is in place and will also examine what opportunities are available for people to recycle or donate clothes. 

Based on similar consultations in the past, she said the process will likely take up to a year. 

Textile donations and recycling options

According to the City of Vancouver's Waste Wizard and the Recycling Council of B.C., non-reusable clothes can be disposed of at:

Storry said some donations centres may accept non-reusable clothes for recycling — people should phone ahead before dropping anything off. 

Also, a City of Vancouver spokesperson said clothing donation bins for the Diabetes Association were placed at the Vancouver transfer station in mid-January. 

The city said the initiative was put in place as part of its zero waste goal and so far has diverted three tonnes of textiles from the landfill​.

With files from Chantelle Bellerichard