I sure hope I’m not the last to know this, but I had absolutely no idea that damaged clothes could be “recycled.” In the past, I felt guilty donating items that were clearly so worn out no one would ever wear it, and even guiltier simply throwing these garments in the trash. In fact, 85% of used textiles go to landfills every year in America. That’s about 65 pounds per person!
Celia Stall-Meadows, an Oklahoma State University-Tulsa professor in the Design, Housing and Merchandising College has the following advice:
“Don’t throw anything away. I mean anything. There is no ‘trash’ when it comes to clothing or textiles.”
Her advice? Instead of putting these cloths in the trash — which ultimately ends up in a landfill — go ahead and donate them. The donation facility will recycle the clothes, and can still make money by selling them to “rag dealers” who will in turn shred it and use it as carpet padding or insulation.
I’ve also recently learned about H&M’s discount for bringing in used textiles. You can give clothes, towels, and any textile with holes, stains, etc. and receive the discount in return. How great is that!?
As much as I have a passion for doing my part for the environment, I can admit I never knew what to do with clothes. I feel so much better knowing I have a plan and can limit our contributions to landfills!
Now that I’ve learned about recycling clothing, I’m wondering what other sustainability tricks I need to learn. Do you have any advice for recycling difficult household items?