It was recently announced that New York City is launching one of the biggest textile recycling programs in the entire country, with the goal of making it nearly as easy to donate clothes as it is to throw them away. Woohoo! Starting in September, Big Apple residents will be able to drop off clothing, shoes and textiles at some 50 strategically placed bins in high-traffic areas of the city. The bins, which will be maintained by a yet-to-be-chosen nonprofit group, will accept not only wearable clothing items, but also items that are not suitable for resale, like smelly old shoes and ripped T-shirts. Goodwill Industries, one organization vying for the 10- to 15-year contract with the city, and New Jersey-based textile recycling company Wearable Collections have both said they find ways to recycle even the most tattered of items into things like rags for the automotive industry and insulation. If you’ve ever stepped foot on New York City soil (or… ahem… asphalt), you know exactly why this program is such a big deal. Almost no one here owns a car, so schlepping cumbersome bags of clothes to a donation site like Goodwill or the Salvation Army is a serious ordeal. People here move a lot — switching apartments every year is not uncommon — and space is famously at a premium, so a program like this may be more important in New York City than anywhere else. As it turns out, though, getting people to recycle clothing and textiles is a problem nationwide. According to the EPA, Americans throw away an average of nearly 10 pounds of unwanted clothing each year; in New York alone, some 190,000 tons of textiles entered the city’s landfills in 2008. And, a recent Goodwill Industries survey found that more than half of people who donate clothing say they wouldn’t go more than 10 minutes out of their way to make a donation. It is safe to say many New Yorkers are looking forward to this new program. Still, some are willing to go more than 10 minutes out of their way to drop off a bag of sweaters, but the less of an ordeal the whole process is the better!