NORWALK — A newly approved city program will allow residents to recycle unwearable clothes without leaving home.
Under the program, approved Tuesday by the Common Council’s Public Works Committee, residents can schedule a pickup time for their unwanted textiles and drop them, in a bag or box, by the curb to be taken away and recycled.
“Pertains to old clothing, shoes, belts, handbags and those types of products that would normally end up in the waste stream of garbage, or maybe you might be fortunate enough to give it away to the Salvation Army or those in need,” Chief of Operations and Public Works Anthony Carr said.
Currently, Norwalk has drop-off bins across the city where residents can deposit bags of clothes to be recycled. The bins, operated by the company USAgain, are emptied weekly, Carr said.
The new program, called Helpsy, is currently in use in Stamford, Helpsy representative Lisa Sciannella said. Norwalk will be the second Connecticut municipality to work with the company, but 10 municipalities in Massachusetts, including Cambridge and Boston, have Helpsy services.
Helpsy comes at no cost to the city; rather, the company will pay Norwalk based on how many pounds of textiles are picked up each month. The city receives 2 cents for each pound of textiles picked up, for a total of $40 for each ton, Sciannella said.
As the city doesn’t pay for the textile company’s services, Helpsy makes money through selling online the clothes sent in that are salvageable, Sciannella said.
“We resell what we can. We get some nice things that still have tags,” Sciannella said. “We have a sorting facility. They (clothes) are photographed and sold online to thrift stores. That’s mostly how we make money.”
To start, the program will select one day each week to make home pickups around Norwalk, with a goal of 35 to 40 pickups each time.
“We would start with one day a week and monitor if slots are filling quickly, then add a second day or second driver on the same day,” Sciannella said. “We want programs to be as convenient as possible for residents …….