The capsule closet and sustainable clothing are in. Which means our packed closets and clutter is out, but the question is…What do we do with all that clothing?
Second hand clothing isn’t in high demand in the Western world, and that, combined with an ever increasing supply of cast offs, has created a mounting issue. There are many organizations and companies that are offering solutions, but a closer look will have you seeing that not all solutions are created equal. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t good solutions. It just means that a little more thought may have to go behind your donating process. Here are a few suggestions for ethical and sustainable ways to say goodbye to some of your clothing.
Whether you are donating clothing to a thrift store or simply trying to recycle, this should be your number one concern. This may seem like nothing, but dirty clothing will more than likely head straight for the garbage. Since the whole purpose of donating clothing is to keep it out of the landfill, donating clean clothing is the best way to accomplish this. Plus, the cleaner the clothing the more likely it will sell. Just because people are looking for cheaper clothing options, doesn’t mean they want dirty clothing.
Donate local. Donate small.
Here in San Antonio, TX we have an organization that serves the homeless and helps families in need. They are always looking for clothing in decent shape for those families. Giving clothing to an organization such as this helps families directly. You can donate to local churches, shelters, or organizations that don’t sell clothing, but give directly to those in need. Also, smaller independent thrift stores ( like Revolution Thrift) generally receive less clothing than the more prominent chains. By donating to locally owned and run places, your clothing will have a better chance of selling and finding a good home to continue it’s life.
Find a clothing recycling facility
There is a lot of controversy surrounding those clothing bins. That said, actually RECYCLING clothing is a great thing. Just about anything can be recycled, but there are some things to consider. If the clothing can be worn and is still in decent shape, there’s an 80% chance it’s going to get shipped overseas. Most companies that own the bins are pretty clear about this, it’s not something they are trying to hide. However, if it can’t be reused or worn again, but is clean, it can be recycled into rags, stuffing, and insulation for housing.
These bins do take fabric scraps, as does Goodwill. And, scraps are perfect for recycling. If you’re still nervous about the bins, companies such as H&M and Nike are known for their recycling programs. While these companies aren’t know for their sustainable practices, they are still offering a convenient solution.
Compost your natural fibers
Natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, can be composted as long as it’s a 100% composition and not blended with any synthetic fibers. Just make sure you remove any zippers or buttons. You’ll also have to cut it up into smaller pieces.
You always have the option of “recycling” them yourself. T-shirts can be made into rags or pillows. Scraps can be used for stuffing. Little things like this make perfect homemade gifts for birthdays and holidays. I’m talking the pillows, not the rags. And, if you’re not feeling that creative, YouTube and Pinterest are filled with easy DIY projects for upcycling to make the process easier on the brain.
Can you think of other ways to donate ethically? Let me know!