Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How do you recycle old clothes?

That is the question I have.

Yes I bring plenty of old clothes to Good Will and the Salvation Army. I even drop some off at our church in their drop box. That is what most people do with their clothes and shoes and blankets, etc.

But what happens to those worn out items. Those clothing items that are no longer usable by other people. I have kids and as you know that do grow out of clothes. They also go through the knees of their favorite jeans. Or they just get a hole in that nice sweater that grandma got for Christmas. I myself have clothes that are just worn out.

Those clothes with holes or worn out knees are definitely not worthy of being sent to Good Will. So what can you do with it? Sending it on to the Salvation Army only burdens them with the task of having to discard it and send it to the land fill.

I have tried to find an answer to this question of how to recycle worn out clothes and other textiles.

Unfortunately I do not have the answer to this. I am finding that companies that say they recycle clothes merely resell them like charities do.

The hunt continues for true textile recyclers.
If you know of a company that does this please comment.

Thank you.


  1. I've been wondering the same thing, and had no luck finding places!! I've heard of companies that use the shredded textiles for pet bed filling and the like, but haven't been able to actually locate anyone to take my rags. I'm hoping someone weighs in here that has a suggestion!

  2. Typically, textile recycling companies could be more precisely defined as textile "collection" companies. Unwanted clothing and linens are collected, baled, and shipped to central material recovery facilities. The company is paid for each pound of textiles recovered. This could be considered selling, but overhead costs do need to be paid in the recycling business exactly the same as all others. Once the overhead costs are provided for, it is possible for the collection companies to pursue additional green projects in addition to keeping the textiles out of our overburdened landfills. Each collection business is unique in how much effort they invest in being green. It is the MRF facilities that ultimately sort the bulk of the textiles into various grades, fiber content, etc. for distribution to final destinations. The final destination of an item will heavily depend of condition. Those items that are too stained or worn out will be recycled into new products such as upholstery, pet bedding, or possibly processed back into thread. The options have expanded over the years and will continue to expand.

    Most resale shops work with textile recyclers (or collectors) these days. My advice is to ask your favorite charity if their shop does. If they do, they should not mind your donating worn items along with the nearly new items, especially if you present them in separate bags that are clearly marked. If your charity does not work with a textile recycling program, please prompt the organization to do so. Clothing does not belong in the landfill. Shoes and accessories are usually picked up by textile recyclers as well.

    Textile recycling is an area of recycling that we should all promote. Resale stores are the Main Street connection with the communities.