The National Association for Charitable Textile Recycling


Partnering for Textile

Municipal By-Laws, RFPs, and MSWs

Welcome to the Municipal By-Laws, Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and Master Solid Waste Plans (MSWs) section, where we showcase successful strategies and initiatives that municipalities across Canada have implemented to manage unwanted textiles. By setting clear goals and collaborating with local organizations, these communities are making significant strides in diverting textiles from landfills and promoting sustainable reuse and recycling efforts.
Explore these examples to find inspiration and practical solutions that can be adapted to your municipality’s waste management plan.


Moving towards a sustainable future
The City of Markham sets a stellar example of best practices in textile collection by-laws and licensing programs. Key elements of their successful approach include:
By-law Language:
  1. Restricting the set-out of donation bins to charitable organizations only.
  2. Requiring bins to meet a brand standard (co-branded bins) for easy identification and removal of unlicensed bins.
  3. Banning textile recycling at the curb by implementing a clear bag system for garbage collection, encouraging residents to donate unwanted textiles.
  4. Implementing strict enforcement policies resulting in the immediate removal of unlicensed bins and donation of collected materials to approved charitable organizations.
Textile Diversion Strategy:
  1. Expanding sites available for licensed textile donation bins.
  2. Utilizing technology like sensors in bins to enhance servicing efficiency.
  3. Collaborating with charities to clean up illegal dumping incidents.
  4. Developing a promotion and education strategy to help residents understand where and how to donate unwanted textiles.
NACTR members report an impressive 80% reduction in illegal dumping at their sites, leading to cost savings, reduced litter, and decreased theft.
For more information:
When working with charities where no money exchanges hands, a formal RFP process is often unnecessary. Many municipalities partner directly with NACTR members without the need for a complicated RFP. Direct collaboration with a NACTR member is encouraged to streamline processes. However, some municipalities still issue RFPs that facilitate charitable collaboration by removing common barriers.
Here are two examples of municipalities issuing excellent RFPs:
The City of Vaughn and The Municipality of Dysart serve as models for effective RFP processes aimed at maximizing the utilization of textiles for higher-end purposes. In these communities, only charities and not-for-profit organizations are entrusted with collecting donations for local reuse. While for-profit entities typically export or divert these materials to downcycling applications such as ragging/shoddy, channeling unwanted textiles through charities and not-for-profits ensures they undergo a rigorous assessment for local reuse viability before potentially being repurposed through downcycling.
Although the RFPs from these communities are not publicly available anymore, we’ve distilled their best practices as follows:
  1. Mandate that RFP respondents be members of NACTR. NACTR vets its members to ensure they are registered charities or not-for-profit organizations directly managing their collections.
  2. Prohibit any financial transactions resulting from the contract. Charities, by their nature, cannot pay for textiles. Imposing payment requirements could deter charities from participating, diverting textiles away from local reuse. Moreover, without a reliable third-party system for verifying textile collection weights, full payments in such scenarios are improbable.
  3. Allow multiple charities to respond collectively to RFPs. This approach enables smaller charities to partake in the RFP process as a team, preventing their exclusion. This is particularly advantageous for very small local charities.
  4. Provide adequate response time for RFP processes. Charities and not-for-profits often operate on tight budgets and lack administrative capacity to promptly respond to lengthy RFPs. Short turnaround times create practical barriers to their participation.
The fact is: 76% of unwanted textiles end up in landfills. Without concerted effort, this won’t change.
Municipal solid waste management planning is the cornerstone of waste-related activities and planning for a period that can extend from five to ten years or even longer. The old adage holds true: what gets measured gets managed. Solid waste management plans with specific textile reduction targets encourage and focus community efforts on driving unwanted textiles to reuse and recycling opportunities.
The City of Ottawa is a prime example of a community taking proactive steps to address textile waste by incorporating reduction targets into its Solid Waste Management Plan:
  1. Decreased landfilling of textiles by (tonnes/year).
  2. Public satisfaction regarding the use of clothing donation bins.
  3. Total tonnages collected in collection bins.
Note: NACTR cautions that in communities with for-profit collection bins, obtaining accurate collection tracking can be challenging due to the lack of third-party oversight over collection tonnages.
The Region of Durham has also set a strong example with its comprehensive waste management strategies:
  1. Coordination of textile collection in partnership with local charities for approximately 25 multi-residential buildings.
  2. Partnerships with charities like Diabetes Canada, Habitat for Humanity, and Salvation Army Thrift Store to collect various items.
Additionally, the plan includes ambitious goals and actions:
  1. 2B1: Reduce quantities of materials generated, including durable goods, textiles, and single-use plastics. Aim to reduce textiles in garbage by up to 5% over the next five years and establish reduction targets for other materials through regular waste audits.
  2. 2B2: Develop a monitoring program to audit waste setouts and composition regularly to determine quantities of food waste, durable goods, textiles, single-use plastics, etc., through audits of garbage, curbside source-separated organics (SSO), and facility-separated organics (FSO).
  3. 2B4: Partner with local municipalities on a common message and approach to textile diversion and single-use item reduction in support of federal action to ban some single-use plastics.
  4. Target 3D: Advocate for the expansion of existing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs and the establishment of additional EPR programs to manage more materials.
These examples demonstrate how municipalities can set specific, measurable targets and collaborate with local organizations to effectively manage textile waste and enhance sustainability efforts.
Municipalities are implementing various strategies to increase textile donations and promote greater reuse through charitable organizations:
  1. The City of Calgary utilizes the NACTR Textile Donation Locator tool, which shows locations across the city where residents can donate textiles. This tool lists hundreds of drop-off sites or donation bin locations, making it easier for residents to find convenient donation options.
  2. The Niagara Region and the City of Calgary offer ‘charitable exemptions’ on tipping fees at landfills. This initiative encourages residents to prioritize reuse and recycling by reducing the cost of disposing of items at landfills. It also incentivizes charities to accept more materials for potential reuse, as they can assess their marketability before deciding whether they need to be discarded as waste.

Every Fabric Counts.

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