Is your closet bursting at the seams with clothes you don’t wear anymore? It’s time for a fashion intervention! Bid farewell to those ill-fitting jeans, faded T-shirts, and those outfits you “swear you’re going to wear one day” but never do. But hold on — before you hastily toss them into the trash, there are more sustainable ways to dispose of old clothes. From donation drives and creative upcycling to embracing the joy of secondhand shopping, consider these top tips for getting rid of old clothes and join the revolution of eco-conscious closet clean-outs!
All the stats, sewn up
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of sustainable clothing disposal, let’s understand why it matters. Put simply, the fashion industry is notorious for its environmental impact and exploitative practices.
- Despite owning large quantities of clothes and other fashion items, studies show most people wear the same apparel over and over. In most cases, at least 50% of their wardrobe is never worn.
- Fast fashion companies generate more waste and pollution than the aviation and shipping industries combined. That’s why turning away from fast fashion and looking toward a circular economy is so crucial.
- And finally, in the U.S. alone, people throw out more than 34 billion pounds of used textiles. Combine that with the 92 million tons of textiles waste thrown out by the industry itself. Fashion companies quite literally discard unused and never-sold items — much of which is plastic-based and harmful to the environment and marine life ecosystems.
By taking a conscious approach to getting rid of our old clothes, we can minimize waste, support ethical practices, and promote a circular economy. So, let’s empower ourselves to make a positive change by discarding our garments responsibly. Here’s how:
Donate your old clothes
As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Donating your used clothes is a fantastic way to extend their lifespan and bring joy to someone else. Even clothes with small holes can be repaired, so always reconsider before throwing something out.
Seek out local charities, shelters, and thrift stores accepting clothing donations. Many organizations even conveniently offer pick-up services. Just remember to donate clean and wearable items to ensure their usefulness.
And if you want to do the job both thoroughly and responsibly, swap out your ordinary detergent for our eco-friendly laundry sheets. There are two strips to each hypoallergenic sheet. Just rip one and place it in either your washer’s detergent drawer or in with the wash itself. The strips come pre-measured which means no more second-guessing how much detergent you need.
Whether it’s a cozy sweater that no longer fits or a business suit that no longer suits your style, your donation can significantly impact those less fortunate or anyone looking to support secondhand shopping and a circular economy.
Embrace the art of upcycling
Unleash your creative side and transform your old clothes into unique fashion statements through upcycling. With a bit of imagination and a needle and thread, you can breathe new life into worn-out pieces. Turn your worn-out jeans into trendy shorts or transform that outdated shirt into a chic tote bag. Plus, you can quickly fix holes or stains with a little embroidery!
Upcycling saves garments from ending up in landfills and allows you to showcase your style while reducing your environmental footprint. A little sewing and embroidery can go a long way in fixing damaged items.
Swap and share
Why not take part in a clothing exchange? There are several ways to do this! One way is to gather your fashion-forward friends and host a clothing swap party. It’s a fun and sustainable way to refresh your wardrobe without spending a dime. Everyone brings their gently used garments and win-win — you bid farewell to unwanted items while scoring fabulous new additions. The other way is to seek out and online groups (or create a local one) which host clothing swaps. Plus, you might make some new friends as you trade in unused clothes to freshen up your own wardrobe.
Explore the joys of secondhand shopping
If there’s one thing you need to remember, secondhand shopping is officially the coolest and best way to shop sustainably. So, step into a world where treasure hunts meet sustainable fashion! Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces like Facebook, Depop, and Poshmark are teeming with hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Not only can you find unique pieces with character, but you’ll also reduce the demand for new garments by giving some pre-loved clothes a second chance. So, put your clothes up for sale or hand them over to a consignment shop and earn some extra cash as you get rid of your old clothes.
Recycle or compost what can’t be sold or donated
Recycling is a great option when it comes to disposing of unwearable clothing sustainably. Here are some ways you can recycle responsibly:
- Textile recycling programs: Look for local textile recycling programs in your area. These programs often have drop-off locations or collection bins where you can deposit your unwearable clothing items. The textiles are then sorted, and the materials are repurposed for various purposes. You’ll be giving a second life to your clothes in a brand-new way.
- Clothing brands with recycling initiatives: Some clothing brands have their own recycling programs or partnerships with textile recycling companies. They may provide drop-off points in their stores or offer mail-in options for recycling unwearable garments.
- Community recycling events: Keep an eye out for community recycling events or clothing drives that specifically focus on textiles. Local organizations, charities, or environmental groups often organize these events. They collect unwearable clothes and send them for recycling or repurposing.
- Composting natural fibers: If you have clothing items made of natural fibers and safe dyes, such as cotton, wool, or linen, you can compost them. Cut the fabric into small pieces to speed up decomposition and add them to your compost bin. Natural fibers are biodegradable and can contribute to enriching the soil.
And there we have it — congratulations! You’ve successfully completed your crash course in ethically and sustainably bidding adieu to your old clothes. By embracing responsible clothing disposal methods such as donating, upcycling, swapping, and secondhand shopping, you will not only declutter your closet but also foster a more sustainable fashion ecosystem. So, get out there and reap the benefits!