If you’re anything like the millions of Americans who have a closet full of clothes that are too big, too small, out of fashion, or just no longer to your taste you might be wondering what, if anything, you can do about the clutter. Throwing it out just adds more to the landfill and some say that only 2% of clothing thrown out each year is not recyclable. That leaves the other 98% of perfectly usable or recyclable clothing. Going green by recycling or reusing your purchases has the added benefit of saving you or someone you know a lot of money. Also by donating items to charity or to thrift stores can help others while, in some cases, being tax deductible. So what best options for recycling your old clothes?
The easiest answer is to hand down your clothing to a friend or family member who might be interested in your old pieces. If you have a few friends or cousins you can create a hand me down get together and have everyone bring everything they have that they don’t wear or that doesn’t fit anymore. Recycle old clothing while you all catch up “shopping” for great new wardrobe pieces. Anything left over after the party can be donated to charity or to your local thrift store.
If you don’t know anyone who you can hand down your clothing to you can just donate the items to a local charity organization or thrift store. If you’re especially concerned with a particular cause you can usually donate specifically to a shelter or cause. Safe nest, a charity for women and children are always looking for donations of women’s and children’s clothing. You’re local homeless shelter would also appreciate the donation. Heavy coats and blankets during the winter months are always in demand. If you do donate straight to a shelter try to only include items that are wearable or gently used. Donating to the Salvation Army or goodwill you can give them anything and everything you have. Generally if they can’t sell the item they will sell them wholesale to a rap manufacturer or send them to get recycled.
Local churches or local collection agencies are great places to get clothing to those who need it. Sometimes your church or at least a local community church will collect clothing to distribute to shelters or sometimes to members who might need the help. Other towns have specialized collection agencies where you can recycle specific items like the clothes, batteries, and tires. To find a clothing recycler near you that are looking for used clothing or other textiles.
If you’re handy with a sewing machine you can repurpose old clothing and fabrics by creating a quilt or throw pillows for your couch. Old children’s clothing can sometimes be kept for sentimental reasons, but if it’s just gathering dust in your attic how much of a memory are you getting. Try creating a quilt using old baby clothes that you and your children will enjoy. Create colorful throw pillows using coordinating fabrics. Try using a different type of fabric on the front and back to create more versatility in your décor.
Textiles and clothing can be the easiest items to recycle because you can find so many people in need of the items as well as places looking to collect them. Ask the charity or church for a receipt of the items donated so you can get a deduction on your taxes while helping the planet.
Textile waste by apparel search, www.apparelsearch.com
Maureen, How to recycle clothes, www.alternativeconsumer.com
Recycler’s Exvhange Index, http://www.recycle.net/exchange/
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