How to Recycle Clothes: Tips to Reduce Textile Waste
Wondering if clothes are recyclable? It’s easier than you think to recycle your old clothes. Here are 5 ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle clothing.
When it comes to making eco-conscious choices about what to wear, how and where you shop is only the beginning. When it’s time to clean out your closet, there are plenty of easy ways to keep your castaways out of the landfill – even items that are way past their heyday.
ARE CLOTHES RECYCLABLE?
In most cases, the answer is yes. The vast majority of used clothing can be recycled or somehow reused. So how do you choose what’s next for your old clothes? Here are five ways to reduce textile waste and give those items a second chance.
DON’T THROW IT AWAY: 5 WAYS TO REUSE, REPURPOSE AND RECYCLE OLD CLOTHES
1. RESELL THEM: We all have neglected like-new items in our closet that we really, truly intended to wear dozens of times. Turn those pieces into extra cash by reselling them at your local secondhand shop or consignment store.
Best for: Clothes that have been minimally worn: no holes, stains, or obvious signs of wear. Many resale shops only accept items that are appropriate for the current season, which means you might not have much luck if you try to resell a winter coat in the middle of June.
2. DONATE THEM: Sitting on a bag (or three) of perfectly good clothes that you just don’t wear anymore? Look for charities in your area that accept clothing donations for distribution or resale.
Best for: Clothes that are still in decent, wearable condition. All-season items like jeans, hoodies, blouses and shirts are usually good donation items.
3. RECYCLE THEM: Did you know that most clothing is recyclable? Items that are too worn-out to wear can be processed into other materials, such as stuffing for mattresses. If you’re wondering where to recycle clothes, check your local waste management service provider or search the web for textile recycling facilities.
Best for: The vast majority of clothing items can be recycled, which makes recycling a great choice for items you can’t resell or donate. Synthetic fabrics – which don’t biodegrade – are especially good candidates for recycling.
4. COMPOST THEM: Yes, you can even compost some clothes. As long as they’re made with 100% natural materials, textiles can be a great addition to your compost heap. Remove any attachments from the item like zippers or buttons, and then shred the remaining material into small pieces.
Best for: Worn-out clothes made from natural fibers, like cotton, wool or linen. Polyester, microfiber and other synthetic materials should never go in your compost, as they aren’t biodegradable – but they can usually be recycled.
5. UPCYCLE OR REPURPOSE THEM: There are countless ways to keep old clothing out of the landfill. Clothes in good condition can be dyed, decorated or altered to breathe new life into them. Worn-out items can be cut up into cleaning rags or patches for mending.
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