Reuse, Donate, Recycle – don’t throw textiles away!

Reuse, Donate, Recycle – don’t throw textiles away!

Reuse, Donate, Recycle – don’t throw textiles away!

The earth is literally flooded with unwanted clothes. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned every second. “In the business as usual scenario, more than 150 million tons of clothing would be landfilled or burned in 2050.” 

Textile Mountains are the result of our excessive textile waste and they are an environmental catastrophe. 

Unwanted clothes end up in gigantic fashion mountains which mostly contain fast fashion items. An example is the 30ft mountain of discarded clothing on the outskirts of Accra, the capital of Ghanaian. 


What can we do to reduce our own textile waste footprint on a daily basis?

Re-use | Donate/Sell/Swap | Recycle

Infographic Donate, Reuse, Recylce

Re-use

Re-using is always the best and most efficient way. This way you can be ensured that the textiles won’t go to the landfill before their time. 

Wrap, an English non-profit, claims that extending the life of your clothes by an extra nine months of active use would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by around 4-10%.

If a garment has been repaired, handed down and is finally at the end of its life, try to reuse it as a rag.

Rags
Use any textile waste as a rag for cleaning basically anything: kitchen, bathroom, windows, floors, bikes, cars or spilled drinks and food. The options are endless.


Donate/Sell/Swap

The best way to sell, donate or swap your clothes is to ensure that they are actually going to be worn again and hopefully to a good cause. 

ThredUp
Thredup is an online consignment and thrift store that offers a free way to clean up your closet. Their mission is to extend the life of clothing through resale, reuse, and responsible recycling. I also encourage my customers to take advantage of the Treadup solution by donating or selling unwanted garments as we can’t offer the option to return your garments at the end of their life yet. 

Consignment shops and Online Platforms
Check if you can support one of your local consignment shops or use online platforms like Etsy or Ebay.

Clothing Swap
A clothing swap is an event wherein each attendees bring clothes that they are willing to swap with clothes of other attendees. This is a great way to breathe some fresh air into your closet. 

Rehash is an online platform, giving you the option to swap your clothes online for free. It states that there are no listing or trading fees; you simply pay for your own shipping and trade as much as you want.

Note: 

Simply donating your clothes to charities and thrift stores like Goodwill can sometimes do more harm than good. Because of the high volume of clothes they receive and the little amount they can sell locally, lots of used clothes get exported to developing countries where they destroy the local garment industries. This will be featured more in my next article! 


Recycle

Before you throw away your clothes, try to recycle them.

Give to Recycle Centers
The Milwaukee Recycling Center doesn’t accept textile donations from Individuals as they work in volume. But they suggest that you donate your textiles to local charities including Goodwill or Salvation Army. If these charities can’t sell your textiles, they sell them to the Milwaukee Recycling Center or other textile recyclers. 

Ask Animals Shelters
Another option is to call your local animal shelters, pet boarding kennels or veterinarians. Many accept comforters, pillows, clothes or bath towels for example as bedding for animal cages. The animal humane society in Minnesota asks for example for donations of clean bath towels. 


In the end we just need to remind ourselves that “gone” doesn’t mean “gone”. In most cases, it just ends up somewhere else. Yet, it is reassuring that there are some options like the ones above that don’t add more harm to the environment.

And in the future, we need to make our garments last and learn to love wearing them again for a long time. The best way to archive this is by knowing your style, knowing what suits you, what you like and what is practical for your lifestyle.


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