this is how used clothes will be recycled

This kind of extension of the summer that we are experiencing is delaying the traditional 'change of wardrobe', an operation that in most homes ends with a certain amount of clothing that will not be used again.

However, like every year, the drop in temperatures will again end with a huge amount of textiles and shoes to manage. As a reference, in the city's used clothing containers, managed by the Roba Amiga program, 137,653 kg were collected during the first half of this year. of material. It is a figure higher than 135,968 kg. from the same period last year, but which is far from what would be desired. In the reviews of the rubbish that are carried out periodically to find out what citizens throw into each container, significant amounts are still found in the 'remaining' container, the gray one.

closed containers

The new contract for the city's garbage, which was put out to tender at the beginning of the month, contemplates a series of measures to ensure that clothing and accessories reach the appropriate container. One of the measures will be the obligation of the winning company of the contest to have a significantly greater number of containers.

Currently there are fifty in the city, but the contract requires placing a minimum of one container for every thousand inhabitants. Thus, taking into account the number of people registered in the city: 135,436 (INE) there must be at least 135 that will have to be installed next to the islands with the rest of the fractions. The ratio can also be increased to place containers in strategic places such as markets, municipal car parks or school entrances.

The company that wins the contest must put a container of clothes for every thousand inhabitants

Another novelty is that the containers must have a card access control system in order to open them.

But perhaps the most significant change is the fact that a pilot test will be launched in an area of ​​the city center to implement door-to-door collection (something that will also be done with used cooking oil). The neighbor will contact the service through a mobile application or phone call and they will tell you when they will pick you up at your home. It is a system similar to the one that is followed now with the collection of bulky waste.

The company in charge must present a report with the traceability of what is collected, that is, the percentage that will be used to market or to make fibers. They will also be required to have at least one second-hand clothing store in the city.

The specification also requires that all people who work in clothing management have a social and labor reintegration contract. The successful bidder may subcontract one or several entities to provide the service. Now the service in the city is provided by an entity of these characteristics, Formació i Treball, which has a collaboration agreement with the City Council.

Employment and sustainability

Idoia Jiménez, coordinator of the delegation in Tarragona of Formació i Treball, in charge of the Roba Amiga project, explains that currently all the people who work in the program, from those who deal with emptying the containers, going through the selection of garments or selling in stores, are workers in a vulnerable situation.

The profiles are very varied, but they are people who find it very difficult to enter the labor market, most of whom come from Social Services. There are people who have been out of the labor market for years; that they need a job to regularize their situation; that have the third degree of prisons... They all receive training and follow-up because the intention is that after a few months (a minimum of six) they find a job in the ordinary labor market. In fact, after a year, 50% of those who have gone through the program get a job.

"It is a social and environmental justice project," Jiménez points out, because it is not only concerned with creating employment and guaranteeing the correct use of clothing, but, for example, they have a solidarity program underway in collaboration with the municipalities to deliver clothing to vulnerable families in need. People come with a check in QR format with which they can choose the clothes in the entity's store.

The Roba Amiga store in Tarragona, located on Calle Apodaca 12, is an example of how public awareness is changing. The profile of buyers is increasingly diverse: "more and more people are realizing that clothes can have a second life," explains Jiménez.

Also remember that all the pieces of textile can be thrown into the containers, not just those that are thought to be put up for sale again, because those that are in worse condition are recycled to obtain new fibers and a small percentage (around 5%) is used to generate energy and heat. The garments that are collected in Tarragona are managed at the entity's plant in Sant Esteve Sesrovires.

Facing the next change of wardrobe, he insists that the clothes that are deposited in the containers are in good hands, not only does it imply managing them responsibly, but it allows job creation and helps to cover the needs of people who need it. He also points out that the containers are becoming more secure because they have incorporated more systems and that they have collaboration with the local police.

Containers: Vallès Occidental is interested in the TGN model

Councilors and technicians from seven cities in Vallés Occidental: Sabadell, Barberá del Vallés, Rubí, Santa Perpetua de Mogoda, Montcada i Reixac, Terrassa and Polinyà were in Tarragona today to learn about the experience of closed containers and the approval of the future contract 2023- 2032. Some 25 people gathered at the Espacio Tabacalera where they were received by Councilman Jordi Fortuny and the technical cleaning team. They then visited the neighborhoods where the smart containers, implemented as a pilot test in 2021, are located.

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