The fashion industry is now considered one of the largest contributors to environmental damage. Besides the natural resources and energy used to create the clothes we wear, the average American throws away over 70 lbs of clothes each year! Since it is still unacceptable to go about your day naked, we wanted to give you a few tips to help you recycle your old clothes!
The first thing to avoid is putting those clothes in your curbside bin or trash can. Your hauler doesn’t have a way to process recyclable cotton. But don’t worry; others are taking up the charge! Let’s look at some things that you CAN do with your old clothes:
1. Sell them!
For clothes still in really good shape, try selling them to a consignment store; some will give you cash or credit to buy some lightly worn clothes for yourself. Stores like H&M will give you a 15% discount for each bag of clothes that you bring in to the store. Eileen Fisher, Madewell, Levi’s, Northface, and American Eagle also offer great discounts in exchange for lightly worn clothing.
2. Donate what you can’t sell
If your clothes don’t fit into the sellable category, you can always donate them to a local thrift store or to programs like bluejeansgogreen.org. Blue Jeans Go Green is taking old jeans and turning them into insulation. So if your old jeans are just too holey for the current trend, send them to Blue Jeans!
3. Upcycle to make something new!
For your other items not in good enough shape to donate, try upcycling! Many old shirts or towels can be made into household rags, produce bags, cute hair accessories or a cute stuffed animal! Have fun getting creative.
Now you know a bit more about why we can’t recycle the clothes we wear and what you can do with them instead. We hope that this will help you be an even better recycler. So, as you’re cleaning out your closets get ready to sell, donate, and upcycle. Just remember that clothes don’t belong in your curbside bins and everybody wins!