With trends like fast fashion, the disposal of clothes seems to be ever increasing. Unlike decades ago when people used to hold onto clothes for many years; nowadays people wear items very few times before discarding them. Wearing clothes until they are fully worn out is a thing of the past; with some people not wanting to be seen in an item more than once. Cheaply made clothes allow people to purchase more items and not care how much wear they get out of them. Although great for some, the devastation this has on the planet is huge. Thankfully action has started to be taken to reduce this mass wastage of clothes.
If you do find yourself wanting to dispose of old clothes there are plenty of options. You will need to take into consideration the type of clothes, materials, and condition before you do so.
What to do with old clothes?
So you have some old clothes that you no longer wear or want.
What can you do:
- Offer to friends and family
- Keep as rags
- Use for animals
Depending on the types of clothes you are looking to dispose of will depend on what you can do with them. First thing you will want to do is sort your items out into things that are still usable, check for any holes and stains. If any items do have issues, see if you can fix them first before counting them as unusable.
What to do with clothes that are wearable
If your clothes are in good condition and still wearable, there are some great options to get them a new lease of life.
Donate them to charity
- Various charity shops will take items that are in clean and in good condition. These items will then be sold on, with the proceeds happing people in need.
- Charities for the homeless or disadvantages communities would be happy to have your unwanted clothes. They will be passed on to people in difficult positions that may not be able to access or afford new clothes.
- There are special schemes that take in old school clothes, to help people from low income families. This enable disadvantaged children to go to school in the correct wearable uniform.
Sell unwanted clothes
- There are a plethora of online platforms allowing you tell sell unwanted clothes. Many of them are free, but some may charge a small fee. Sites include Vinted, Depop, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Craigs List. You can offer the option of posting the item or have the person collect from you.
- Do a car boot or yard sale.
- Take them to a Clothes for cash store. The clothes are measured in either amount of bags or weight, with the cash given accordingly.
Offer to people you know
- Offer unwanted clothes to family or friends.
- Children quickly grow out of clothes still with lots of wear left in them. Pass them down to sibling, cousins or friends and neighbours with younger children.
What to do with clothes that are no longer wearable
If find yourself with clothes that you have got full use out of and are no longer wearable. Here are some options of what you can do.
- Upcycling clothes is very popular. Having items that are completely unique is very on trend. If you are hand with a needle and tread, why not try making somting new from your old items.
- Cutting off usable part from a garment and sewing them onto others to make brand new pieces is a great way to reuse old clothes.
Keep as rags
- Rip or cut up old clothes to use as rags or cleaning clothes can be very useful. Natural material fibres can work great for cleaning.
- Small squares of material can come in useful for patching other items or using as test strips.
Use for animals
- Depending on the type of material, animals may be able to use your old clothes for bedding. You can put up clothes and leave them out for wildlife to take for nesting. Natural materials are preferable. Keep a look out for whether the material is taken so as not to cause litter.
- Bedding for pets. Old clothes items can be made into cosy places for pets. Small pets can use little cocoon hammocks as safe places or as fun hideouts.
- Some animal charities that help injured or orphan wide life will also take scrap material. A heart-warming example is, old material used to make pouches for orphan baby Kangaroos in Australia after the wild fires.
- Lots of clothes retailers and brands now offer clothes recycling. Brands such as HM, M&S, Zara and many more allowing you to drop off you unwanted clothe in store. As incentives, some of these brands will offer money off vouchers or discounts for these donations.
- Online retailers also offer recycling schemes. Bands like Missguided, Boho, Pretty little thing are just some of the brands that work with the reGain app. The app allows you to package up and send off your clothes for recycling. These brands will then off you a voucher to use on your next purchase with them.
- Check your local recycle as you may be able to put bags out with your curb side collect. Or take it to collection bins at your local recycling centre.
Can clothes be thrown in the bin?
With all the options given above, throwing your unwanted clothes in the trash or general waste bin should never have to be an option.
Clothes can take hundreds of years to fully break down in landfill. With some man made materials being harmful to the environment.
Both consumers and corporations contribute to the shocking amounts of textile waste that heads to land fill every year. Hundreds of thousands of tons are sent to land fill, often of which are items that are perfectly useable.
Make sure to not be part of this horrifying statistic and make good use of your unwanted clothes rather than just opting to through them in the bin.
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