By Kaitlin Ahern

One Million Pounds and Counting: GrowNYC Greenmarkets Reduce Textile Waste in NYC

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Union Square GreenmarketEach year, the average New Yorker throws nearly 50 pounds of textiles such as old clothing, towels, and shoes out with the household trash.

GrowNYC, a nonprofit organization that works to improve New York City's quality of life through environmental programs, provides a way to reduce that waste: weekly textile recycling collections at eight of its year-round Greenmarkets have so far prevented one million pounds of it from hitting area landfills. "That's enough to fill 24 subway cars!" said Marcel Van Ooyen, GrowNYC's executive director.

GrowNYC currently partners with Wearable Collections, a New York-based company that sorts and redistributes materials to secondhand clothing markets, rag makers, and fiber recyclers. Weekly Greenmarket locations throughout the city accept a variety of recyclables, including household textiles, food scrap collections for composting, and rechargeable batteries and cell phones. For a full list of Greenmarket locations and acceptable donations, call 212-788-7964 or visit