Don't Throw Away Those Old Sheets

Nov 15, 2013

Onondaga County is already rising above the rest of the nation to recycle paper, plastic bottles and metal cans.  

Credit America Recycles

But as part of America Recycles Day, OCRRA is asking County residents to try to take clothing and other textiles out of the waste stream.  Onondaga County recycles 61% of its waste, almost double the national average.  OCRRA’s Public Information Officer Kristin Lawton says while many people understand using their blue bins is imperative for commonly known recyclables, reusing textile items is also important.

“When you recycle textiles you eliminate the need to make products out of virgin resources so you can recycle linens into new items instead of having to harvest cotton.”

Lawton says recycling textiles goes beyond giving reusable clothing to donation centers like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the Rescue Mission. You can sign the pledge to recycle textile items here.

This graph shows the rate of recycling in Onondaga County compared to the rest of the United States.

  “What’s really interesting about textiles is not only the stuff that you might want to pass on and give a new home that someone else can wear in terms of clothing, that stuff is recyclable, but you can also recycle things that maybe someone doesn’t want to wear.”

Lawton says these charities will sort through the clothing and send textiles in bad condition to sites where they will be turned into rags, soundproofing, carpet padding or even paper.  Textiles also include linen towels, shoes, pillows and stuffed animals.  A list of drop-off locations can be found at with the “How do I get rid of” search bar.

OCRAA's waste management hierarchy

  Here are some of the ways you can recycle at home:

Method 1: Mix Recyclables Together

  • Because single stream recycling is now the norm in Onondaga County, you don't have to separate recyclable papers from your recyclable containers.
  • Place all your recyclables in one bin. No need to sort papers from containers.
  • Do make sure your recyclables are separate from your trash.

Method 2: Separate Your Recyclable Papers from Your Containers

  • Place paper items in one bin.
  • Place glass bottles and jars, metal containers, plastic bottles, #5 plastic containers and drink boxes in another bin.
  • Stack the container bin on top of the paper bin when bringing them to your curb. This will prevent your paper from blowing around and becoming litter. It also eliminates the need to place your papers in a bag. If you still want to put your papers in a bag, feel free, but you don't need to use a brown bag, any paper bag will do.

These are places around the Syracuse area and Onondaga County where textiles can be dropped off for recycling.