But, then there is the other side of your closet...what to do with those items you either don’t like or that don’t fit. There are so many options and we want to share some ideas and information with you that may help you make the best decision for the most responsible way to recycle those unwanted clothes.
A few facts to consider - According to the EPA, Americans get rid of 16.9 million tons of clothing each year, and an estimated 11.2 million tons (66%) of those clothes end up in the landfills. It takes 200 plus years for many textiles to decompose in landfills! And, during the decomposition process, textiles generate greenhouse gas and release toxic chemicals and dyes into groundwater and soil - not good.
Here are six ways to recycle your clothing so that they don’t end up in the landfill!
1 - Have a clothing swap party with your friends
We love a good party with friends and getting “new-to-you” clothes at the same time is an added bonus! Just have everyone bring some snacks, masks, and drinks to share and be ready for a laughter-filled night!
Each person should bring items from their closet that they no longer want because one of your friends is going to love it. Try on the clothing and model it to see which are the best options for each guest!
2 - Donate your clothing
This is an obvious choice but here’s some information that may help you to choose where to make your donation. Only about 10-15% of clothing donated to thrift stores make it to the shelves. The rest are sent overseas, bundled and auctioned, incinerated or sent to the landfill.
We prefer to look for a homeless shelter, church or women’s shelter that needs the clothing so we know it will go directly to someone who needs it! There is also an organization called Planet Aid, Inc that you may be familiar with - the big yellow bins where you can donate clothing and shoes. Their mission is to recycle your clothing. The clothes dropped in their bins are sold and reused in developing countries, where the demand for used clothing is high, or repurposed into something new. They sell it to help the economies in those countries. Check them out at https://www.planetaid.org/.
3 - Consign your clothing
This is a great option for newer and lightly used clothing and will help you get some of your money back! Many areas have local consignment stores which tend to give you a little more money. But, you can also use online options like Thredup which tends to be best for high end items. They will even send you a shipping bag, making the process very easy!
4 - Sell your items online
There is always Facebook marketplace, Poshmark or ebay where you can list your items to sell. I’ve had great luck selling workout clothes on ebay! You would be surprised how much people pay for your used clothing (sometimes even more than you paid on sale)!
5 - Turn well-loved or stained clothing into cleaning cloths
If it isn’t in good enough condition for someone else to use it, reuse it for a new purpose! Just cut it into smaller cloth pieces, ready for dusting, washing your car or your windows!
6 - Reimagine them
For those creatives out there, make something new and different from your old clothes! There are so many ideas on Pinterest and many don’t even require sewing. You will be shocked if you start looking for ideas. We found instructions to use old t-shirts to make a braided rug and it is Pinned for the future! This is also a great way to keep a favorite that has a stain - cut it out and reuse! How about some pet clothes or a reusable shopping bag? The options are endless!
We hope the next time you clean-out your closet that you consider the best way to recycle each item! Whether you decide to donate (wisely), sell, repurpose or gift them, remember that you can make a difference! We love clothes and we could never stop buying more, but we are making better choices and making sure our old clothes go to the best place!