This Canadian city has big plans for your old T-shirts.

"It's the circle of life..."

There's one in every closet.

It's torn at the hem and along the neckline. There are stains all over — some you remember, some you don't. It's been washed so many times that it's see-through, making it simultaneously the definition of comfort and completely unwearable in public — which is fine because it has shrunk in some places and stretched in others and hasn't really fit right in years.


Sometimes shabby-chic just isn't a really good look. Image via iStock.

It's your favorite T-shirt, and it really needs a new home. Markham, Ontario, wants to give it one.

This small-but-mighty suburb of Toronto has been recycling for a really long time.

They've recycled newspapers for nearly three decades, later expanding to aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastics, then electronics, then composting. There are places to drop off appliances, household waste, and old electronics. But until recently, there was nothing for textiles. That's a problem for nearby landfills.

Landfills: A great place for hungry birds — not a great place for your clothes. Image via iStock.

A 2015 survey of Ontario residents found that only 15% of unwanted textiles in the region were recycled.

For the Markham region specifically, that meant that about 4,425 tons of textile waste ended up at the garbage dumps every year, making up about 7% of their volume. City sanitation workers knew it was happening — they already operate a "clear bag" program for waste so everything on its way to a landfill is easy to see. And with fast fashion encouraging consumers to buy cheap, quick clothes with short lives, the mountain of textiles in the local landfill was only going to get bigger.

For the government of Markham, this felt like something they could fix — or even eliminate completely.

Their first step in taking on textile waste was talking to the people of Markham about it. What they found out was fascinating.

They discovered that residents were open to donating and recycling more of their textiles, but that they only wanted to pass on their nicest articles of clothing. Claudia Marsales, Markham's senior waste manager, described the city's findings to the CBC. "People only thought you could donate something that was perfect."

While that's very thoughtful, it misses the second life that many less-than-perfect textiles can have after being recycled. Less-fashionable or rewearable clothes, along with other unwanted textiles and fabrics, can be repurposed in many fascinating ways: making automotive rags, home insulation, carpet padding, diapers, landscaping fabrics, even "smart skin" for medical researchers. There are second lives for clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, furniture fabric, mattress padding, backpacks, rugs, cushions, curtains, and, — since it's Canada — winter outerwear and gear.

Earlier this year, the town introduced "Markham Tackles Textiles," a new program designed to make fabric recycling easier than ever before.

Now there are adorably designed textile donation bins located in convenient places around the city where people can drop off unwanted textiles. A local charitable organization sorts through the donations and preps them for their second life.

Pictured: your old clothes and bedding, en route to a brand-new life. Image via iStock.

The nicest and most fashionable clothing and bedding donations will head to local charity thrift shops for sale. Others will be bundled into 1,000-pound bales and sold to private companies for reuse in a variety of industrial purposes. Only when all other opportunities for reuse are exhausted are some products sent on to the landfill.

Getting serious about textile recycling is one more step toward sustainability for this Canadian city.

It's already Canada's first "monarch-friendly" city, devoted to protecting the habitat of the popular but endangered butterfly. It operates one of the largest solar-powered installations in the region. Markham is focused on local food and green transportation, managing a community seed library, regular farmers markets, and a 125-mile network of bike paths. Now it's committing to another incredibly ambitious goal: recycling 100% of unwanted textiles in the community.

For Claudia Marsales, this textile recycling program is also part of a campaign to educateMarkham residents about the social andenvironmental effects of disposablefashion and encourage them to think about the end-of-life for all fabric products they buy.

As for that unwanted old T-shirt you can't seem to let go of, this might be the perfect place. As Marsales told the York Region this month: “The message is we will take every piece you have.”

Heroes
True
Savers
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and according to Professor Hanns Hatt of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, revealed that jasmine can calm you down when you're feeling anxious.The results can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."

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