How To Recycle Clothing and Other Textiles
Image Credit: Artificial Photography
Do you have clothing, bedding, curtains, underwear or other fabric and textile items that you want to recycle?
Many items which are thrown away could be reused, and the good news is that over 50% of textiles are recycleable.
Sell or Donate
If you have clothes, sheets, blankets and other household textiles such as towels, tea towels and curtains that are in good condition you could:-
- Pass them on to a family member or friend.
- Offer the clothing on a local recycling group such as Facebook groups, Freecycle or Freegle.
- Sell items via a local website, listings magazine, newspaper or local Facebook 'For Sale' group.
- Give them to a charity shop or to a jumble sale.
- Put them in a charity textile collection bin. These turn up all over the place, from car parks to schools and supermarkets to shopping centres.
- Against Breast Cancer collect bras for recycling or reuse for charity.
- Put them in one of those charity textile recycling bags that you may have put through your letterbox from time to time. However, the amount of money which goes to charity from these collections can vary. Also all door-to-door collectors must be licenced. You can find out more about this from the Textile Recycling Association.
- Sell on a national auction website such as eBay or eBid.
- Include them in a car boot sale or yard sale.
- Designer and good quailty clothing could be sold via a dress agency (these are also known as Consignment shops).
- Have a swishing party with your friends - you all bring your unwanted items and swap them with each other. Just add wine and nibbles!
- You can sell baby clothes in good condition at an NCT Nearly New sale.
- Animal charities may accept blankets to use as pet bedding. Check with any charity before donating.
Can You Mend it?
A lot of clothing and other textiles are disposed of just because of popped seams and lost buttons. The website LoveYourClothes.org.uk is a brilliant resource for information on how to care for your clothes, including how to clean them, remove stains, repair and alter clothing.
For the more adventurous there are ideas on how to upcycle, alter and otherwise get creative with your old clothing.
You can also find videos on YouTube on how to do most repairs on clothing, and there are lots of articles online about how to repair things too.
Items In Poor Condition
Just because an item of clothing is in too poorer condition to wear or a towel is just too grey and disgusting to hang in the bathroom any longer, does not mean it's useful life is over quite yet.
- Items such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and joggers make good cleaning cloths, as do Aertex-type shirts - the sort that kids PE kits and school polo shirts are made of.
- Old towels also make excellent cleaning cloths too. I also keep a big old bath towel for putting on the floor when I'm cleaning the fridge or in case of washing machine and dishwasher problems. They are very useful if you have a kitchen flood of some kind.
- Any clothes in poor condition can be donated to many charity shops, who sell them by weight to rag merchants. They will even accept old underwear and holey socks! Do check with the shop before donating rag, as some shops, particularly smaller charities may not be able to handle rag.
- Your local council may take away textiles in your curbside recycling collection.
- Most household recycling centres will have textile collection bins.
Got Any Unwanted Knitting Yarn?
If you have knitting yarn that you want to get rid of you can also donate it to a charity shop. If you have a collection of oddments of wool these are often perfect for using to knit items for many charity knitting projects.
Even if you cannot knit, there may be a local knitting group that would be happy to receive the yarn too. Here is a list of charities that are currently looking for knitted and crocheted items.