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Shelby residents to have curbside clothing, home goods recycling

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 13, 2016

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — At its Dec. 15 meeting, the Shelby Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a municipal contract with Simple Recycling, a company that provides curbside recycling for clothing, shoes and home goods.

The program comes with zero costs or operational responsibilities for the township or its residents, Simple Recycling representative Scott Brady said at the meeting.

“We provide a curbside pickup service that mirrors the existing trash pickup routes, specially designed recycling bags, all information materials, all trucking expenses, all related insurance coverage, and program management,” Brady said.

The company currently serves more than a million Michigan residents, with programs pending in many other southeast Michigan communities, he said.

“We’re not competing with charities,” Brady said. “We’re competing with landfills.”

He quoted a statistic from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that 15 percent of all unwanted clothing is donated or recycled; 85 percent, he said, ends up in landfills.

“This program has actually increased donations to charitable organizations in communities (by offering) alternatives to throwing clothes in the trash and motivating people to donate to charity because of increased dialogue around the disposable options for clothing, shoes and home goods,” he said.

Brady said Simple Recycling sends out an informative postcard to every resident who receives curbside recycling. After a week, the company sends out a second mailing that includes an information packet, large green bags and tags. After another week, it sends out a third postcard to announce a start date.

“After that, about three to four months into the program, we’ll send out an additional re-education piece and remind all of the residents of the program.”

Supervisor Rick Stathakis clarified that Simple Recycling will take worn, ripped, stained and outdated clothing, so long as it is clean and dry.

Once a collection is made from the curb on regular trash pickup days, Simple Recycling will leave new bags in its place. Residents can pick up more bags from the Shelby Township municipal building or order more from Simple Recycling. There is no limit on how many bags residents may put out.

Marietta Crabtree, chairwoman of the Shelby Township Solid Waste and Recycling Committee, said she is in favor of the increased recycling options for township residents.

Besides accepting donations of clothing and shoes, Crabtree specified that Simple Recycling will accept home goods such as books, toys, silverware, draperies, towels and other lightweight items.

“What they do is sort through everything, and items suitable for resale go to resale shops, and the other items which are still wearable but out of style, maybe with some stains and so forth, are being sent to … undeveloped nations,” she said. “Some things can be made into industrial rags, and then (others are broken down into products).”

She said she expects the program to prosper in Shelby Township because of the community’s success with Rizzo Environmental Services’ recycling program and the Solid Waste and Recycling Committee’s monthly electronics recycling events.

“We want people to take the good, usable items to charities, as they have in the past,” Crabtree said. “We want what people were throwing out in the past.”

For more information about Simple Recycling, call (866) 835-5068, email or visit