Clothes are a fantastic way to express your identity. Wearing the right clothes for you can be the difference between feeling confident and having an amazing day and feeling low and uncomfortable.
Therefore, as you change and grow as an individual it is important that your style changes with you, which is why season after season tonnes and tonnes of clothes are tossed out.
While we fully support a good clothes shopping spree it is important to make sure that your old clothes are gotten rid of in a good way.
Yes, that’s right, we are talking about recycling. Recycling can be the difference between environmental damage and a beautiful process that results in much less waste.
In fact tossing your old tops and trousers into the trash can mean that they will take 40 years to decompose and also in this process they will release the well known harmful greenhouse gas, methane.
How Can I Recycle My Old Clothes?
It’s fantastic that you want to recycle your clothes rather than toss them away and cause our planet excruciating pain. But it can be tricky to know where to start, especially if you are new to the recycling game.
The truth is that there are an infinite number of ways to recycle. When it comes to clothes these could include (but are by no means limited to):
- Donating to a thrift store- If you find that you are done with some of your clothes because they no longer fit, or they don’t match your style anymore or maybe they’ve just been at the back of your wardrobe for a decade and so you know it’s time to part ways but they still have life in them then donating them to a thrift store could be a great option.
This gives people the opportunity to buy used insteading of constantly feeding off the consumer’s market by buying new. Buying used clothes leads to less waste and also less pointless mass production, both of which have a major positive impact on the environment around us. You probably already know where your local thrift store is but if not try having a google and finding one that raises money for a cause that you are passionate about. If you think about it, donating your clothes to a thrift store really is a win win.
- Visit a textile recycling centre- Although clothes should not be tossed out into your trash and many recycling centres will not take them there are specific textile recycling centres. As the name implies these places exist purely to provide a place for old used clothes to be recycled, so they will be more than happy to take them off of your hands.
This could be a particularly good option if your clothes are slightly past their best so aren’t really worth rehoming as it allows you to dispose of them in a safe and responsible manner. Textile recycling centres are dotted around all over the place, but once again if you aren’t sure where your closest is it might be a good idea to turn to the internet for an answer.
- Sell them- Much like donating to a thrift store this option provides a great way to rehome your old clothes that are still in good condition. This option also provides a great little extra source of income and who does love a bit of unexpected money.
There are many ways to sell old clothes including garage sales and flea markets which provide people with an excellent opportunity to view all of your items and choose which ones to take off your hands. Alternatively the online buying and selling market has grown enormously over recent years. Places such as Amazon, Ebay and Facebook Marketplace could be excellent places to sell your old clothes.
- Ebay and Amazon allow you to reach a global audience who are searching for exactly what you are selling so your clothes will instantly be shown to people who are looking for that kind of thing. The only negative to using these sites is that usually you have to arrange shipping; however the buyer will often be happy to cover these costs.
On the other hand, Facebook Marketplace works slightly differently to Amazon and Ebay as it places more emphasis on location and will show local people what you are selling, one positive of this is that often people are willing to collect your goods which leads to a simple handover with no unexpected complications.
- Composting- Very few people are aware of the fact that your old clothes can be used for composting. Of course, you need to first remove any buttons, fastening or anything else that is not material but then providing that your clothes are made out of natural fibres such as pure wool, cotton, silk or linen you can then use them in your compost.
To do this, cut your clothing down into small squares so that they are easier to decompose. It is important that you make sure that any stains made from things which are not decomposable are removed. If making your own compost at home is something that you do not have time to do it may be worth checking with your local city whether or not they accept clothing for composting.
- Find a new use- You may no longer like your clothes as clothes but that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t enjoy the materials in a different setting. For instance an old, summery, floral t-shirt may no longer be something that you wish to wear but it could still make a beautiful cushion cover. You can also turn old clothes into new clothes by cutting or combining materials.
By reading this article you have already taken the first steps to recycling your clothes. You should now have a basic understanding of what your options are when it comes to safely disposing of your old clothing items.
All of the above options are much better than chucking your old clothes in the trash but which is the best to use will depend on how much time you have available, the condition of your clothes and what materials they are made out of.