Sustainable Ways to Recycle Your Old Clothes

There are a myriad of ways clothes can be given new life. From consigning to recycling to donating, you can help reduce the amount of landfill waste and give those old outfits a second chance in someone elseís home. Letís take a look at the different options for cleaning out your closet with the environment
in mind.

Always Avoid the Garbage Bin

No matter what you do with them, never, ever throw away your unwanted clothes. A startling 85 percent of Americans throw away their clothes when they get rid of them, resulting in millions of pounds of waste on our beautiful planet. Between ever-changing trends and the culture of fast fashion growing exponentially, itís understandable that youíll eventually want to get rid of old pieces to make room for new ones.

While itís not feasible for anyone to hang on to every piece of clothing they buyówhether youíre switching out maternity clothes, losing weight or simply changing up your styleóyouíre much better off recycling or repurposing your old clothes instead of hauling them off to the dumpster.

The best option? Selling! If the clothes youíre getting rid of just donít fit your style anymore and are still in great condition, youíre throwing away money if you simply toss them in trash. Instead, take them to a consignment shop or send them in to a resale site. Youíll be earning money for clothes you donít need and saving the earth in the process.

Reuse at Home When You Can

Maybe your wardrobe has a few pieces that are too worn out to sell. Before you head to the garbage bin, think about your household needs first. There are plenty of ways to reuse your old clothes around the house. Instead of spending money on dust rags or new clothes to wear while you exercise in or work in the yard, use your old clothes! Cut up t-shirts into squares and use those to clean around the house. In the same vein, why spend money on new workout gear when you can wear those same old t-shirts?

Youíre going to get sweaty and dirty anyway, so you might as well use something already in your closet.

The Benefits of Recycling

For the clothes you just really have no use for, itís time to look into donating. According to Planet Aid, donating your clothes to be reworn takes a huge strain off the planet. For every 10 pounds of clothes that make it into someone elseís closet, you save 14,000 gallons of water, preventing 30-40 pounds of
CO2 gas from polluting the air and reducing the amount of insecticides released to grow materials for new clothes. These are pretty remarkable stats that should have you running to your closet to donate those old clothes. Seek out a nearby thrift store, donation bin or recycling center to help make our
environment cleaner and safer. Every little bit counts!

This same philosophy applies in reverse, as wellówhen you shop for secondhand clothes, youíre saving production waste and reducing the demand for fast fashion, which has a huge toll on the environment. Consider shopping secondhand for items youíll only wear for a short time, like kidís clothes and
maternity pieces, and donate or recycle them when you no longer need them.

Behind the Scenes of Recycled Clothing

While most people think their clothing immediately ends up on the racks of secondhand stores and charity shops, your clothes are repurposed in a variety of ways once you have donated them. Sure, some of them end up in thrift stores, but thatís not where the journey ends for items. Pieces in good condition
are often shipped overseas, where merchants can sell them at a fraction of the original costóthat provides an affordable option for those who often canít pay for new clothes. This also helps to create jobs for sellers and helps to stimulate the local economies.

Clothes that are no longer wearable are treated as recyclable textiles and repurposed in a number of different ways. That bag of old ratty t-shirts might turn into the filling in someoneís couch, and your old worn out dresses could become the insulation in your next house. How about that for the fashion circle
of life? Itís really fascinating when you take the time to think about how your desire not to contribute to waste is really and truly making an impact.

Rebecca Piersol is a stylist and co-creator of the fashion blog The Crystal Press. Her passion for all things fashion includes taking eco-friendly measures like shopping secondhand and donating clothing she no longer wears. Rebecca is also a contributing writer for thredUP, an online and offline thrift store that gives new life to everything from maternity clothes to designer dresses.

64 comments

Paulo Reeson
Paulo R27 days ago

ty

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R27 days ago

ty

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo R27 days ago

ty

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natasha p
Past Member 2 months ago

I give to thrift stores.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 months ago

thanks

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim V3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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