Aug 23, 2022 - Business

Des Moines business diverts clothing from the dump

A photo of a Clothes Bin.
Seven cents of every pound of clothing donationed from this site at 950 15th St. in Des Moines goes to a student incentive program at Edmunds Elementary. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

There's a new way in Des Moines to get rid of that shirt with the stain or pair of sneakers with a hole in the side toe.

  • Clothes Bins — they're vivid green drop boxes that are part of a national franchise.

Why it matters: It's a good way to divert items from the landfill that can't be worn again.

What's happening: Clive businessman Brad Burtnette added more than a dozen bins throughout the metro.

  • He plans to add about 80 more in coming months.

Of note: It's part of a for-profit business. Donations are not tax deductible, which is explained on the front of the bins.

  • Yes, but: Burtnette is sharing some of his profits with local charities.

What to give: Any clothing item or textile that's dry and has no odor.

  • No mildewed items or any soiled with solvents like gasoline.

The big picture: More than 11 million tons of textiles — mostly clothing and footwear — went to the landfill in 2018, according to the most recent EPA estimates.

  • It accounts for roughly 8% of municipal solid waste.

Meanwhile: Nearly 100% of clothing can be recycled, according to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association.

  • Furniture stuffing and industrial wiping cloths are among some of its uses.
Data: Brad Burtnette/The Clothes Bin; Map: Skye Witley/Axios
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