A person puts donated clothing into one of the donated bins.

Clean out your closet – GO restarts clothing donation efforts

Metrolinx and Diabetes Canada are teaming up to help GO Transit customers donate textiles.

Sep 25, 2020

Hello there old ripped Madonna t-shirt. Howdy faded cowboy boots with the big hole in the toe.

We’ve all got those classic wardrobe items that are well past their prime. The ones that your partner or kids have tried to throw out behind your back more times than you can count.

As with every other part of your life, COVID-19 has disrupted the way you can dispose of old clothing and other textiles.  For most of 2020 your ripped concert tees and grubby boots stayed put as many companies that normally accept clothing donations put a hold on things for safety reasons.

close up on a pile of textiles, shoes, stuffed animals

You can donate almost any new or used textiles including shoes, bedding, underwear and stuffed animals. (Metrolinx photo)

Well there’s some good news for everyone looking to get rid of piles of clothing donations now sitting in bags in the basement.

Diabetes Canada has once again started accepting textile donations and that includes at four GO Stations in Markham. GO Transit customers can once again bring almost any clean textiles to the donation bins at Unionville, Mount Joy, Markham, and Centennial GO stations.

You can part with that single sock whose other half was lost long ago, those stained oven mitts and torn skinny jeans that wouldn’t fit a toddler. In brief, even underwear is good to go.

In addition to gently used, new textiles are also welcomed as Diabetes Canada resells new or gently used items to Goodwill where 100% of the proceeds go to the charity.

You can get the full list of accepted items here.

clothing donation bins in the GO Station parking lot with cube van parked next to it

Diabetes Canada regularly empties the bins to ensure the area doesn’t look cluttered. (Diabetes Canada photo)

The donations support those living with diabetes and are part of a broader strategy to reduce the amount of fabric and other clothing materials that end up in rapidly overflowing landfills across the province.

What started out as a pilot program between Metrolinx, Diabetes Canada and the City of Markham in August 2019, has now become a permanent fixture. You might be wondering how much has been collected so far – well the results are pretty heavy. More than 11,000kg of textiles have been diverted from landfills. That’s about the same as an entire double-decker GO bus.

Prior to COVID-19, exploratory talks began on expanding the program to GO stations in other municipalities. Metrolinx and Diabetes Canada are now re-starting those discussions with hopes of expanding the program in the coming months. 

So beware Madonna concert shirts, your days might be numbered. And you can’t be too mad, because your material girl world gets to live on for a good cause.

by Scott Money Metrolinx editorial content manager