Massachusetts is setting trends with its recent law making it illegal to throw out clothes, The Cool Down reports. The law went into effect November 2022, making Massachusetts the first state to ban tossing clothes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, as of 2018 over eleven million tons of textile waste was ending up in the landfill each year.
The new Massachusetts law requires that both residents and businesses recycle their used garments (unless they are contaminated), although the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) generally enforces the ban on businesses and waste haulers more than on individuals.
Even stained and worn out clothing has some use, and clothes that are not adequate to be resold or donated as clothing can be turned into rags or broken down into threads that can be used for other products. MassDEP estimates that eighty-five percent of the textiles that the state’s residents and businesses throw away each year are suitable for recycling or donation.
Residents and businesses can take advantage of programs by Recycling Works Massachusetts and Bay State Textiles and a number of other programs to recycle. MassDEP also has an online recycling finder to make it easier for you to give your old clothes another life.