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A Complete Guide to Recycling old clothes

Recycling old clothes

Our homes are filled with plenty of clothes, most of them old ones. With the ever changing fashion and new styles to try, it’s only understandable that our closets are overflowing with clothes that we will never ever wear again. But isn’t this a waste of meters and meters of fabric that might have been of use in things other than wearing? Honestly it is, and so, here are some nice creative ideas to make those old clothes of yours more useful. Let you creative juices flow and see yourself being astonished with the results.

1. Recycle old clothes: Make cleaning cloth

Clothes are in constant need for cleaning purposes. Be it the bathroom mirror or the closet in your kitchen, you’ll be in need of clothes to clean all of them. Why not use your old clothes instead of buying some more for cleaning the house? Here are a few good suggestions: you can use old socks, especially the terry one for cleaning surfaces. All you need to do is cut open the sock from the back and use the inside of it for cleaning. You can use the lighter colored socks for cleaning bathroom surfaces while darker ones for tables and furniture which collect dust and you can see how much dirt you’ve removed!  

2. Recycle old cloth: Make cloth craft

Make cloth craftAnother beautiful way of expressing your creativity, along with making use of your old cloth, is by making cloth craft. You can make puppets, book covers, coasters, small covers for you electronic items, decorative bows and much more with your collection of old clothes. In fact, by taking inspiration from something like 1930s Men’s Fashion you can even give a retro look to your old clothes. Once you get going at making new and innovative things from stuff in your closet, you won’t be running to the craft store to buy those pretty items anymore.

3. Consign them

Where can good clothes, which for one reason or the other haven’t been worn, go? To the consignment store of course. Consignment stores offer to sell your clothes and give you a part of the deal too, not a bad option at all! Do contact your local consignment store before taking truckloads of clothes only to be informed that they don’t need your stuff. Yes, even consignment stores are choosy and might want just a particular style or size. So before heading to the nearest store, make a call.  

4. Make mittens out of an old sweater

Make mittens out of an old sweaterThere comes a huge change from one winter to other and sometimes, you just get surprised to see the sweaters you were wearing last season. If you have such sweaters, which you want out of sight asap, then you can use them for a good purpose: making mittens. Just take the sweater, cut out pieces according to the size of your hands, sew the two pieces together and viola ! your mittens are ready. A few point of advice though – do the sewing on the reverse side and then turn the sweater (now mitten) inside out and decide in advance how many mittens and of which design patterns would you like to chalk out. You can also give away some mittens as gifts!  

5. Reuses for old socks

Old socks are probably one of the most popular, irritable item in any house. Some lose a partner, some just tear off, some are too old to wear and then there are some, which should better be disowned. Be it for any reason, unworn socks are in plenty and you can do a lot with them than just dumping in the nearest bin. Old socks can be used for making a rug for instance. You can sew them all together into a nice pattern of colors and turn them into a sock mat! Apart from a unique invention, it would be one of the most feet friendly mat in the world. You can also protect your precious shoes by making shoe cover from your socks. Take unused socks, do a little restitching if needed, and you have home made protection for your shoes. Another use of old socks is using them as cushion for packing. When you have to send some fragile stuff through mail/courier, it always helps to protect is as much as you can. You can add that extra protection to your packing by stuffing unused socks or covering the item with layers. Be sure that the socks you use are clean and fresh. Old socks have always been used as making hand puppets. An idea that never goes waste in house filled with kids. It’s simple, cheap and keeps kids engaged for a long time, longer than those expensive gizmos in the market. So pick out some colorful old socks, make up a nice story and invite kids for some good time.

6.  Always choose biodegradable and organic fibers-

Organic clothApparel made from organic fibers have been highly in trend in recent years. Organic clothing includes apparel or home textiles made from cotton, wool, jute, ramie, silk etc. Brands like H&M, Nomads, Tvach, Anokhi, Bhu: sattva and more offer sustainable apparels in India. Switching to organic apparel fibres, there are a plethora of benefits. Firstly and most importantly, it is environment-friendly and is produced free from the use of chemicals, and thus, it prevents contamination of water and soil on its disposal. Secondly, it is gentle on your skin and best for people with highly sensitive skin, who are allergic to synthetic dress materials. Also, it offers cheaper and better quality products. Pick up dresses made from organic materials in the first place to be able to recycle your old clothes easily and minimize the environmental consequences of its disposal.

7.  Repair your clothes as much as possible-

Before you consider disposing of your old clothes and footwear, try fixing them. Fixing or repairing old apparels can mean sewing, knitting or simply changing a broken zipper or sewing a button or throwing them in the laundry and putting them to use over again. You must also know how to repair seams and fix apparels which have come undone. In case your favourite T-shirt is stained to the extent that you can’t wear it for outdoors anymore, make sure you wash the T-shirt well and use it for indoors. You may also do the same thing with color faded and worn out clothes.

8.  Donate and not discard- Donate and not discard

That one time when you are up for a wardrobe clean up, and you find clothes which are quality still but does not fit you anymore, what do you plan to do with them? The best thing to do with appeals that don’t fit is to donate them to those in need. Apart from those clothes which are so in distress that they cannot be donated, you may very well give away something which no more fits you. There are various NGOs that do the good deed in your city, and all you need to do is to get in touch with them. Remember, what is a necessity to us may be a luxury to someone. Recycle your old clothes by donating the ones that you do not use anymore.

9.  Try something new-

Think of some cool and creative ideas to transform your old apparel into something new. There is a flood of DIY ideas online which you may take a look at and apply them to your old piled up a stock of t-shirts, pants, socks and more. You may be surprised to learn how a pair of old trousers can be sewed to make it a mini jacket and your faded jeans jacket may be transformed into a cool skirt, and those baggy jeans can be transformed into trendy distress jeans. And if you don’t want to wear any of your old and stacked up clothes over again, or they are so worn out that they cannot be donated, you may as well commemorate them into DIY quilts, multipurpose carry bags or even pillow covers, tablecloth etc. Unleash your creative ideas and make the best use of the stack of old clothes you were about to dispose of.

10.  Approach your nearest textile recycling plant-

Recycle Your Old ClothesIn case you are much convinced that your clothes, socks or shoes are too tattered to get them repaired or put them to use, you can give those clothes away to any nearby textile recycling plant. Those old clothes may be reworked to make padding for furniture, rags for cleaning etc.

11.  Sell or rent your old clothes-

There may be something in your wardrobe which still looks new and is of quality but has a lesser style value for you. It may be T-shirt which you can’t find ways to style with your outfits or the skinny you can’t slip into anymore. The best way to do away with apparels like that is to rent or sell them. You may rent them to a friend or, sell them to a retail store near you at a discounted rate. There are various clothes swapping websites online that allow an exchange of leftover clothes so that you always get a new buzz about them.    

Clothing stores that recycle old clothes

Did you know that you can also directly donate your clothes to certain clothing stores? Check out this list of stores that recycle old clothes so that you can give your old clothes to be recycled:

1. Levis

LevisYou can give any old clothes or shoes belonging to theirs and other clothing brands. They have a nice scheme that if you bring any piece of clothing, you will straightaway receive a voucher to get 20% off on a single, regular piece of Levis clothing in their store. Levi’s partner in recycling, I:CO will make sure that your old items are repurposed, recycled or re-worn, and will leave nothing for the landfills.  

2. Insecta Shoes

The Brazilian brand is renowned for their leather products, but now they are choosing to forego leather for recycled plastic, vintage clothing and reclaimed rubber. The results are proving to be absolutely gorgeous – bright colored durable footwear with very low carbon footprint. We never knew recycled clothes made from discarded clothes could look so great!   Thus, Insecta is one of the stores that recycle old clothes and create fantastic shoes. They make small batches of the shoes using old clothes and make unique shoes out of them. If you don’t like to wear shoes worn by other people, you can buy shoes from this brand as an eco friendly option.  

3. Eileen Fisher

Eileen FisherThis is one of the upscale fashion outlets which accepts even old, stained clothes and repurposes them into beautiful new clothes. The line is called ‘Remade in the USA’, and you can find recycled clothes in her outlets. The designer acknowledged that the garment industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and her way of reducing a little bit of the pollution is by repurposing old clothes.

4. Kallio

You can give the old men’s clothing to this brand, as it makes new kid’s clothes from men’s discarded clothes. The idea is great, as a dress shirt can be easily transformed into adorable clothes for babies, little boys and girls.  

5. Patagonia

PatagoniaPatagonia is one of the clothing brands, which has always had an unconventional approach. It encourages consumers to purchase fewer clothes. It’s one of the stores that recycle old clothes, but only their brand. It also offers repair services for their clothing, rather than buying new ones. And in one of the Portland stores, they offer an ‘old clothes’ sale.   The eco friendly brand was among the first to convert plastic bottles into nice, polar fleece. The brand also makes recycled wool from recycled polyester, and recycle their own products to protect the environment.  

6. H&M

H&M is famed for being an extremely sustainable brand, and it collects any old clothes, in any condition and of any brand to make recycled clothes. You can do this at any of their fashion outlets anywhere in the world. In return, H&M will hand you a 15% off coupon which you can use on your next purchase.   The best thing is, you can drop off your old textiles (such as towels and bedding) into their collection boxes kept in the store. This is one of the stores that recycle old clothes into beautiful clothes  – who knows you may be wearing a brand new garment made out of your own old clothes!  

7. The North Face

The North FaceThe brand specializes in outdoor gear it uses the recycled clothing for environment conservation. It encourages its people or customers to leave their old shoes and clothes at their stores and gives a 10% discount coupon which can be used on a 100$ purchase or more.  

8. M&S

M&S is one of the stores that recycle old clothesand you can leave old clothes or soft furnishings at Oxfam, which they have tied up with. You can get a five pound voucher if you buy anything for 35 pounds.  

9. Madewell

MadewellImage Source : images.milled.com

A huge amount of water and other resources are used up to make a single piece of denim, much more than other clothes. So instead of buying more denim, either you continue wearing your old ones (they last for years) or else give them to be recycled at stores like Madewell.   The company donates the jeans you and others bring in to the ‘Habitat for Humanity’ which makes insulation out of them. And apart from the satisfaction of knowing that your old denims are being used for a good cause, you also get a 20 dollar discount on the next pair of jeans you buy from them.  

10. Intimissimi and Calzedonia

These two are also stores that recycle old clothes. You can leave your unwanted clothes there in the I:CO containers placed in their stores. If you give 5 garments, you will get a 10 pound voucher – not bad at all!  

11. &Other Stories

&Other StoriesImage Source : fashionunited.com

This is one of the stores that recycle old clothes as well as old shoes. It collects the empty containers of beauty products from its own brand. You can leave empty lotion containers while you buy the next one there, and get a 10% discount coupon there.  

12. Kiehl’s

Kiehl’s is a brand where you can leave their empty skincare products, but only full-size. You will be given a stamp card, one stamp for one container, and for ten stamps, you will be able to choose a free product from their Travel Collection line. If you love their products and keep using them, then this could be a good option.    

Final Words

 These are a few of the fashion brands which recycle clothes, and there are many others too. Recycling and reusing are definitely options for old clothes, but the best option is just to buy less of everything, clothes included.   Everyone has old clothes they don’t know what to do with. They just lie there at the back of the closet taking up space. And we keep buying new clothes which generate an incredible amount of pollution – from the pesticides used on cotton, water which is used to treat and wash the fabric and the dyes which impart the beautiful colors to the clothes. So if we give our clothes to be recycled we would be saving the environment from pesticide pollution and water and other raw material.