Each year, Santa Barbara County residents throw away more than 11 million pounds of usable clothing and household textiles into very limited local landfill space. Through a grant funded by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the city of Santa Maria and its partner, Textile Waste Solutions Inc. provide a solution for the community to significantly reduce textile waste.

Used clothing that would otherwise be discarded at the Santa Maria regional landfill is diverted through a collaborative effort with local nonprofit organizations and thrift stores. Clothing, bedding, belts, shoes, towels and soft toys — nearly anything made from fabric — can get a second lease on life. They can be reused for people in need within the community. Textile recycling companies around the country work closely with thrift stores and charitable institutions to find new homes and uses for old clothing and fabric items that cannot be sold, freeing up clothing for those less fortunate.

Through collaboration among the city of Santa Maria, Textile Waste Solutions and local thrift stores, the community has significantly reduced the volume of textiles that would otherwise have ended up in
the landfill. The city staff want to achieve increased textile diversion and inspire neighboring communities to do the same.

Every bit of clothing counts. Clothing with missing buttons, zippers, and holes can be reused for rags that are sold to help pay local workers and to fund the expense of transporting usable clothing. Donate to local thrift stores or bring used clothing to the Utilities Department drop site at the landfill. For more information, call the city of Santa Maria Utilities Department at 805.925.0951, ext. 7270.

City of Santa Maria used clothing donation drop sites:

» City of Santa Maria Landfill, 2065 E. Main St.

» Vocational Training Center, 2445 A. St. or 529 S. Blosser.

» Good Samaritan Shelter, 401 W. Morrison Ave.

» Affordable Treasures, 247 Town Center West.

» RAD Thrift Store, 215 W. Main St.

» New Image Thrift Store, 2512 S. Broadway.

Mark van de Kamp represents the Santa Maria city manager’s office.