The National Association for Charitable Textile Recycling


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Frequently Asked Questions.

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Textiles is a broad term used to define any filament, fibre, or yarn that can be made into fabric or cloth, and the resulting material itself. When considering textile recycling, we are talking about all clothing, footwear, household linens, stuffed toys, and fashion accessories.

NACTR is an association for Charitable Textile Collectors, NACTR does not collect or sell textiles directly, our members do. NACTR members specialize in post-consumer textiles comprised primarily of clothing, household linens, shoes, accessories, and stuffed toys which have been purchased from retailers and are no longer wanted by homeowners. Donations of uniforms, manufacturer end cuts, over stock and discontinued merchandise are not considered post-consumer waste, but rather Commercial, Industrial, Institutional waste. Some of our partners can use these textiles for resale in local thrift markets, however we do not specialize in this area.

Each member may have different guidelines for the textiles they accept. It is recommended you should check with your local collector as to what they can and cannot accept. All our members accept clean and dry reusable textiles to be given to those in need, sold in thrift stores, or sold in bulk for recycling.

NACTR Members also collect other small household items such as housewares, toys and media. Details of each member’s list of acceptable items can be found on their websites.

When possible, fabric scraps over 12″ square in size are collected in lots and offered in thrift stores for crafters. This is a very limited market. There are currently no recyclers in Canada capable of utilizing these types of mixed composition fabric offcuts.

 Our members will process fabric scraps with our other unsaleable textiles to grading partners, so if there is an opportunity for recycling, they may capture them, but to our knowledge they are ultimately disposed of.

By donating to trusted NACTR members you are ensuring your clothing and household donations are given to reputable, authentic charities and/or non-profits social enterprises. There are many imposter charity bin operators and collections sites asking for donations which are for-profit, unbeknownst to well-intentioned donors. If your trusted charity of choice is not a NACTR member you can refer them to the NACTR website to join. Only as a last resource would we recommend your textiles be sent to the landfill. There are many other options available which can be found by checking with your local municipality.

NACTR members have over 5000 donations collection points right across Canada. Visit our Donation Site Locator to find the closet location for your donation today!

NACTR members collect textiles for different purposes. Many sell the collected textiles and other items to thrift retailers for fundraising efforts. Some give directly to persons in need or offer vouchers for items in their thrift stores. Non re-wearable and unsold textiles are sold to and graded by used textile management companies who may export usable textiles. Currently there is no textile end-of-life recycling (deconstruction of fabrics and materials) infrastructure in Canada.  All funds generated by our non-profit charitable members fund community, health, and social services programs.

Donors can choose to donate their textiles and household items to various charities. Many charities sell the collected textiles to thrift retailers for fundraising efforts. Some give directly to persons in need or offer vouchers for items in their thrift stores. In today’s market the logistics of finding the appropriate recipient for reach donated item can be a challenge. These systems allow charities to maximize each, and every donation releasing its value for their respective causes.

All funds generated by NACTR non-profit charitable members fund your community, health, and social services programs available across Canada.

Retailers and large brands are ever pushing fast fashion, encouraging consumerism and the perpetual purchase of new goods. But what happens to the old goods? Retailers and brands intend them to be sent to landfill. By reusing and recycling these products they are given a chance at a second life, diverted from landfill. Landfill diversion directly contributes to the reduction of CO2 and methane emissions resulted from the decomposition of textiles. The secondary market of reuse and thrift displaces the demand for new products and virgin materials, preventing pollution and GHG emissions associated with raw material extraction, manufacturing, and long-distance transportation for imports.

This is still a new emerging market, not yet evolved in Canada to accept donated textiles from collectors. We are working together with other organizations looking at new innovations and opportunities to recycle all types of textiles in Canada. We do encourage residents to donate all textiles as it does give them the best chance at a second life, saving valuable resources through life-extension.

The most economical use of donated textiles and household items is to reuse them here in Canada. NACTR members do their best to extend the life of donations and release the value locally, for their fundraising efforts. The local market demand for lower quality donations may be limited, whereas global markets are purchasing North American textiles for their markets. Therefore, there is a possibility your donation if lower quality cannot be used in Canada and will be shipped elsewhere. Until the Canadian market evolves with domestic recycling opportunities for collectors, exporting product which may be used elsewhere is still preferred over landfill or incineration.

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