BERLIN – A textile recycling program intended to add hundreds of dollars to a local drug use prevention initiative has been declared a success after its first seven months in Worcester County.
Nearly 67 1/2 tons of old clothing, bedding and accessories have been collected since the bins were placed at recycling centers, transfer stations, and businesses in Worcester County in October.
“It’s been a tremendous success. We continue to see growth in this every week,” said Public Works Director John Tustin.
Last summer, Worcester County elected officials approved a partnership between Mid-Atlantic Clothing Recycling (MAC Recycling) and the local D.A.R.E. program, permitting MAC to place textile collecting bins at sites around the county. The county provides a place for the bins, and MAC Recycling collects the clothing.
D.A.R.E America, the national organization, receives a flat fee for every bin placed, which is then funneled to local D.A.R.E programs to purchase workbooks, pencils, T-shirts and whatever else the program needs.
Worcester County’s Public Works Department and the county’s D.A.R.E program support the idea. The initiative is based on a successful initiative in New Jersey, said Claude Nelson, State Coordinator for Maryland D.A.R.E. The New Jersey program brings in close to a half a million dollars every year.
The funds are important to D.A.R.E programs because many lost funding, or the officers were assigned elsewhere, after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Audrey Traff, general manager of MAC Recycling, said that bins are checked daily for readiness to be picked up and cleanliness.
“We actually have bin monitors who go out on a daily basis and make sure there’s no dumping in front of the bins,” said Traff.
The clothing-recycling program has been ongoing in Maryland for about a year.
Worcester and neighboring Dorchester County are very recycling-minded, said Traff.
“The clothing is ultimately sold to Third World countries to people who are in need of clothing,” said MAC Recycling president Robert Goode.
MAC Recycling attempts to join profit with a social consciousness, he said.
“In an effort to be environmentally friendly, we’re trying to make sure clothing does not end up in landfills,” said Goode.