ST LOUIS PARK, Minn - Residents in several metro communities are now able to recycle so much more than bottles and cans.

Starting Monday several communities started offering a new recycling program that accepts clothing, shoes and small household items.

"All kinds of clothing, men's, women's, children's clothing as well. Also shoes, accessories, handbags, things like that," St. Louis Park Solid Waste Program Coordinator Kala Fisher says.

"We also accept small household items like toys and other things."

The program is also being offered in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, New Hope and Crystal. All of these participating communities have partnered with Simple Recycling in order to coordinate the program.

"We had another vendor help us do clothing recycling in years past, but three years ago that program stopped," Fisher explains. "With this program we can offer more services and more items can be collected."

The new recycling program is fairly straightforward. Coordinators say most residents should have received at least one orange plastic bag in the mail earlier this month.

All you need to do is place your items inside that bag and then place it next to your typical recycling bin near the curb.

"When the company comes to pick it up they will replace that bag and then give you another one in case they need more," Fisher explains.

Coordinators say it's important that residents remember to keep these recycled items separate from the rest of their recycling.

Putting the clothing and household items in your recycling bin, instead of the oramgge bag, could wind up costing the community additional money and also slows down the recycling process.

All of the materials are graded and sorted locally and/or regionally based on quality and condition. The top quality materials will be resold to local thrift outlets, mid-grade materials are exported to international markets and unusable items are processed for raw materials that are recycled as carpeting, insulation or sorbent material for spills.