Councillor Mac Bain is trying to prolong the life of the Merrick Landfill site in North Bay by having old clothing diverted from the dump.

Staff has been instructed to work on a bylaw that would ban the common practice of putting unwanted shirts, coats, pants and shoes into garbage bags and picked up on garbage days.

Bain says after 24 years of use, the Merrick Landfill only has 19 years of life left.

“We need to ensure we do everything that we can to extend the life of the landfill,” he said.

“I believe a ban on textiles (clothing) will have a positive impact on the landfill.”

Bain says right now garbage pickup works out to $42.85 a household based on the 17,000 buildings in the city.

He says the garbage contract comes up for renewal next year and adds if textiles are banned from the dump, it’s possible to see the cost per household for garbage pickup drop.

Bain says that’s because part of the contract is based on weight and mass at the landfill.

He says clothing can be heavy so if it doesn’t end up at Merrick, that’s less mass and weight at the site and possible tax savings.

As for where old, used clothing can go, Bain says there are quite a few alternatives.

He says the Salvation Army and Rebuilt Resources can accept the textiles and then sell them which further their ends as charities.

Bain says there’s even a place for torn clothing which can be broken up and used as rags.

Bain says Markham is one city that bans textiles at its dump and it’s been very aggressive in creating options for how people can get rid of old clothing.

He says the city has bins at all its arenas where people drop off old coats and shirts which are then collected by the Canadian Diabetes Association and used to fundraise.

North Bay isn’t the only community that uses the Merrick Landfill and the city plans to talk to other municipalities to talk to their residents about not throwing old clothing away anymore.

Bain says diverting textiles from the landfill protects the environment and saves people money and he adds it’s a “win-win for everyone”.