clothing-drive

Charities are urging Nova Scotians to donate their used clothes, rather than throw them in the garbage. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

Nova Scotians send 30,000 tonnes of clothes, shoes, bedding and other textiles to landfills each year, a practice both the government and charities want to curb.

Environment Minister Randy Delorey says officials are contemplating a ban on tossing textiles in landfills, given the material makes up 11 per cent of all waste heading to local dumps.

He says the idea is being eyed as part of a larger government review of solid waste regulations.

"One of the options being considered is a ban on textiles," he says.

In the meantime, he’s urging people not to toss their ripped jeans and old socks in the garbage and is pleased with a project launched by a coalition called the Association for Textile Recycling.

The group is made up charities that raise money in Nova Scotia by accepting donations of shoes and clothes — about 7,000 tonnes of material each year. 

They’ve launched a website asking people to donate rather than toss their textiles.

"So many people don't realize the wide variety that we take," association president Joanna Dunn says.

There's a market for almost everything. Worn out shoes, for instance, can be chipped and turned into gym mats.  

And Value Village stores in Halifax and Dartmouth buy donated clothing from charities and sell it.

"We'll sort whatever comes in and we will find a home for it," manager Reg Chitty says.