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City of Peterborough Works with Trent University to Investigate Textile Waste


Following City Council’s October 2, 2017 meeting which instructed Waste Management staff to investigate a local solution to textile waste, the City teamed up with the “Local Waste Management” class at Trent University to help spearhead this research. One of the tools developed by the class is an online survey about clothing donation and recycling, which will go
live starting February 21, 2018.

Textile waste has doubled since 2000 in Canada, and yet only about 16% is being recycled or re-used. That means an estimated 650 to 1200 tonnes of textile waste is being sent to landfill each year from our City alone.

“Unwanted materials (textiles) are a growing waste concern as they have become cheap and disposable. It is great that Trent students are able to work with the City to review program opportunities,” says Laurie Westaway, an instructor of the Trent waste management course.

The students have been working on this project since January, and will continue to gather and analyze data for the remainder of the semester. One of the initiatives is to develop a communications outreach plan to encourage residents to make use of a potential program by recycling and reusing unwanted clothing.

“In order for us to be able to reach people, we need to first understand what they are currently doing. For example, are they already donating used clothing? We also want to know how they would feel about a future diversion program and what challenges prevent people from supporting waste diversion activities,” explains Shelby McFadden, one of the Trent students working on the project.

The survey will help the City to create a better, more effective program that will make it easier for citizens to participate in textile recycling and reuse. The City encourages residents to fill out the short survey in order to help increase diversion in Peterborough. All participants will enter a raffle for prizes donated by businesses in the community.

The survey is open until February 28, 2018 at https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/0c691dd.