The textile industry in India caters to the tastes and preferences of 1.3 billion people, covering the vast diversity of the country. Also, the industry contributes a total of 4% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The short shelf life of apparel nowadays is due to rapidly changing market trends and also the increase in purchasing power of the customer. And this is a solid reason behind the fact that apparel is the third largest source of waste in India. Even though the estimated average annual expenditure of a customer adds up to 68 million dollars on clothing and footwear, it would not be wrong to assume that half that much amount spent shall be dragged to the dump-yard by the following year.
In this article, we will tell you about some ways in which you can recycle your old clothes and make them last longer.
Ideas for you to recycle your old clothes
We all have a basic idea about what recycling is. It is accumulation and conversion of worn-out materials considered as waste and making something new and usable with it, instead of dumping it into the landfills. Doing the same with your work out or out of fashion apparels is not just good for the environment but also a creative and fun way to bring about the change. Here are eight ways you can recycle your old clothes and contribute your part to a greener environment:
1. Always choose biodegradable and organic fibers-
Apparel 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.
2. 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.
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.
4. 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.
5. Approach your nearest textile recycling plant-
In 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.
6. 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.