'Wash 'em, bag 'em, drop 'em off': Whitehorse firefighters launch clothing recycling program

After local free stores and a thrift store were overwhelmed with used clothing, there's a new program in the city that accepts donated clothing.

There's a new program for donating textiles in the city

Bins are available at the Raven Recycling Centre for washed and bagged donated clothing. (Steve Hossack/CBC)

The Whitehorse Firefighters Charitable Society and Raven Recycling have teamed up to divert clothing from the landfill and raise money for local community organizations.

Several bins have been installed at the recycling centre that people can put donated clothing into.

Daniel Lewis, the centre's education coordinator, said the clothing will be baled and shipped to the south for sale.

"Wash'em, bag'em, drop'em off,:" is the motto for the new clothing donation program at Raven Recycling, says its education coordinator Daniel Lewis. (Steve Hossack/CBC)

He said close to half-a-million kilograms of clothing or textiles are estimated to end up in the Whitehorse landfill each year.

Firefighter Nicholas O'Carroll said the society's goal is to have more than 50,000 kilograms of clothing diverted from the landfill next year.

He said the firefighters approached the recycling centre about starting the initiative based on a similar program run by firefighters in the Lower Mainland region of B.C..

Terry Hunt, a member of the Surrey, B.C. fire department, said there are about 45 bins around that region.

Whitehorse firefighters are also crediting freight movers Pacific Northwest with making the program possible.

Whitehorse firefighter Nicholas O'Carroll says the firefighters charitable society wants to expand the annual Share the Spirit campaign by raising funds through the clothing donation program. (Steve Hossack/CBC)
O'Carroll said firefighters are looking for ways to grow charitable revenues so they can expand their annual Share the Spirit program. It provides the fixings for Christmas dinner and children's gifts to financially strapped families.

He said they are also approaching community organizations, like the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, that may also be interested in having a bin as a way of raising funds.

Lewis said, for now, the bins will remain at the recycling centre.

He said the main point for potential donors is to "wash 'em, bag 'em, drop 'em off."

The Salvation Army Thrift store and the free stores at the city landfill and the recycling centre have all closed, in part, because of the huge amount of junk being dropped off, including clothing.

The clothing bins will be stationed at the Raven Recycling Centre for now. (Steve Hossack/CBC)