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How to Recycle Old Clothes

October 31, 2022 4 min read

Recycling old clothes reduces the world’s carbon emissions and water usage. Learn how you can reuse yours, from textile recycling to selling online.


Few people keep the same wardrobe forever. After some time, your clothes get tired and outdated. What you wore in your early twenties might not work for your early forties, after all! The question is, how do you get rid of old clothes that you no longer want? Instead of throwing them away, you have another, better option: recycling them.


Why Should You Recycle Old Clothes?

Recycling old clothes is much kinder for the planet. When you think about how much energy and water the fashion industry uses, it makes sense that all clothes should enter an ongoing life cycle rather than end up in landfills. By recycling your clothes, you contribute to a world that emits fewer greenhouse gases, uses less water, and has less textile waste.

On top of that, recycling your unwanted clothing also means other people get a chance to wear them. So, whether you donate clothes to charity or recycle textiles, your contribution means your clothes can keep providing great fashion to many more after you.

At this point, you’re likely wondering how to recycle old clothes. Fortunately, there are lots of excellent ways to do so – read on to discover the best ones.

1: Create Something New

When you think of recycling old clothes, you likely don’t think of keeping them for yourself and creating something new. That is something you can do, though!

One great idea is to use old t-shirts to make a t- shirt blanket. This blanket will be made up of all your favorite t-shirts from over the years – the ones you no longer wear but still don’t want to let go of. Despite not being able to wear them anymore, you can still use those t-shirts to keep cozy and warm!

You could also use the fabric from your worn-out clothes to create new garments. If you’re ace with a sewing machine, bring your old fashion pieces together to make a unique statement piece that you can wear for years to come.

2: Swap with Others

Sometimes, you’ll come across gently used clothing in good condition that you still don’t want to hang on to. Maybe your style has changed, or those clothes don’t fit you anymore. In these situations, consider swapping your clothes with others! Ask your friends if they have unwanted clothes they might want to trade, and you might just come across a new favorite wardrobe.

3: Sell Online

An excellent way to recycle your old clothes is by selling them online. Not only do you give your clothes a new life, but you also make money in the process! There are many great online platforms to sell your used pieces, so choose one that works best for you.

To sell your old clothes quickly, use these tips:

Take Great Photos

When buyers browse for clothes, they often decide at a moment’s glance. So let your clothes make a good impression by taking high-quality photographs.

Write a Good Description

Once you’ve attracted a potential buyer’s attention, keep it by writing an informative and enticing description. Don’t make it too long or too short; keep it snappy while including all the essential descriptions, such as size, brand, fabric, and fit.

Be Honest

Saying that your boot-cut jeans are like-new and in excellent condition isn’t a good idea if they have scuffs and small tears. Instead, write honest descriptions so that your buyers don’t feel deceived. Otherwise, they might leave negative reviews, which may prevent you from selling the rest of your clothes.

4: Repair and Reuse

Do you have a clothing item you absolutely love but can no longer wear because of wear and tear? Instead of giving up on your favorite piece, you can repair the item and keep it for many more years. Investing in a sewing machine is an excellent idea for anyone wishing to reduce textile waste. That way, when you discover a rip in your favorite blouse or skirt, you can repair and re-wear it!

5: Donate to Thrift Stores

Another great way to recycle old clothes is by donating them to thrift stores. You can find thrift stores practically anywhere, and many are happy to receive a bag of old clothes still in good condition.

6: Textile Recycling

If your old clothes are far too old and worn to be sold or donated, you can take them directly to a textile recycling facility. There, you can get rid of all your old clothes and other textiles you may have.

Buying Clothes to Reduce Textile Waste

Recycling your old clothes is a fantastic way to give back to the planet while giving your old wears a chance to get worn again. That’s not all you can do, though. If you want to cut back on fast fashion and reduce the amount of textile waste you produce, make these three changes:

Only Buy Clothes that You Need

Many people are in the habit of buying clothes when they get bored. This often leads to cluttered wardrobes and outfits that never get worn, though. Instead of buying too many clothes, only purchase items you need. For example, if you think you need a new pair of heels, go through your wardrobe to see if that’s the case before hitting the shops.

Shop Second Hand

Shopping second-hand is a great way to avoid fast fashion. Instead of giving money to an industry that uses tons of water and energy, you contribute to the recycling of clothes. Plus, shopping second-hand often means finding unique pieces!

Buy High-quality Pieces

While purchasing high-quality pieces usually equals spending more, it’s still a good idea, as it means you won’t need to keep replacing your clothes. Instead, your quality pieces will stay with you for many years.

Recycling your old clothes and reducing your textile waste is an excellent way to give back to the planet. So, whether you’re decluttering your wardrobe or wanting to change up your style, use the above advice to do so with the earth in mind.

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