How to Get Rid of Old Clothing
Guys I am so excited about this blog post! First a little backstory, once I started downsizing my closet and belongings I realized I had all this stuff I didn’t want and no way to get rid of it. Of course, the nicest clothes I gave to friends or donated, but what to do with the rest? Sitting here reading this you’re thinking, “Duh Maggie, just throw it away” and that is the mistake I didn’t know I was making for YEARS.
Before I get into throwing clothing away, I want to talk about donating clothing. Only about 10-15% of clothes that are donated actually go into a donation center like Salvation Army or Goodwill, the rest gets thrown away because it’s not in good enough condition. So if you are going to donate, make sure you are donating high quality pieces.
When you throw clothing away, it goes in the garbage to a landfill, and then what happens? Nothing. Because of the synthetic fibers clothes are made out of, and other environmental conditions, it takes clothing 30-40 to break down. Our landfills and brimming with poor condition clothing that won’t break down anytime soon, over 10.5 million tons of it.
So what can we do? We can try to recycle clothing in our own homes, repurpose in some way. Quilts made of T-shirts, old rags, etc. But beyond that, what else is there than to throw clothing away?
All over the country there are textile recycling centers that take care of these old clothes. It is kind of like a recycling center just for clothes and other fabrics! However, not everywhere has a close recycling center, I couldn’t find one anywhere near me. So now I have this bag of clothes sitting in my closet I feel bad just throwing away.
I was lost, and was just planning on pushing these clothes around my closet until I could figure it out. Which wasn’t looking like it was going to happen anytime soon. Time passed, and I was shopping online for some new work pants. I was on a great ethical work wear site, Brass Clothing, and I started clicking the links they have at the top. Clicking The Clean Out Bag lead me to their idea of mailing you a bag to fill with clothes and send out to a textile recycling center.
Holy cow! This is exactly what I was looking for! And yes the bag costs $10, but they give you $10 in store credit to buy anything you’d like. I was already planning on buying a pair of pants; I may as well recycle clothing while I’m at it! My bag is on its way in the mail and I can’t wait to fill it and send it back out.
Then I started doing some more research, and there are plenty of stores that take old clothing to recycle! These are nationwide retailers including North Face, Eileen Fisher, Madewell, and American Eagle. Madewell and American Eagle are looking for old jeans, and North Face and Eileen Fisher will take back their clothing to recycle. All of these options give you money back in store credit for dropping off your clothing to be recycled.
After learning that old unwanted clothing is filling landfills it truly got me thinking about fashion. First, it’s important to recycle what you can and donate what you can’t. Second, it’s important to love the pieces you buy so you don’t have to recycle or donate as much. I’ve already spoken about fast fashion and ethically sourced fashion in this post, but it is more than just buying from ethical places, it’s about buying less overall.
And after doing more research, I found this helpful tool that you can look up what you want to recycle and how using your zipcode to find places that recycle clothing and other items near you! Check out Earth 911.
I hope this information is helpful for you all, I know it was so helpful for me! I will be updating my instastory when my clean out bag comes in, so make sure to follow along on Instagram @maggie.abbonizio.