British Columbia | Sustainability

B.C.’s innovative voluntary end-of-life program for textile management

February 25, 2021

Retailers know that British Columbia has the largest suite of products managed under mandatory end-of-life product stewardship regimes of any North American jurisdiction.  British Columbia also has a voluntary textile recovery program that is financially self-sustaining – and operates outside of the province’s regulation.  The program provides a great example of voluntary end-of-life product management that might be an example for other jurisdictions.

Operated by Return-It in partnership with Salvation Army Thrift Stores, the program collects clean used textiles (clothing, accessories, shoes, boots, bags, towels, blankets, sheets, curtains and sleeping bags) which are distributed to reuse organizations and companies within Western Canada. Any returned textiles that cannot be resold are recycled and reused to make many different materials like rags, paper, yarn, carpet padding, or insulation. Through the reuse and/or re-purposing of this material, waste in the form of used and unwanted clothing from the landfill is diverted.  The Return-It Textiles program has diverted 485 tonnes of textiles from landfill since its launch in 2019 – and the amount is growing significantly every year.

British Columbians drop off used textiles at participating Return-It depots at the same time as they are recycling other products and can be confident that their textiles are being re-used or recycled.

For questions or more information contact

Greg Wilson
Director, Government Relations (BC)
gwilson@retailcouncil.org
604-736-0368


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