Why You Should Recycle Your Old Clothes, Not Just Throw Them Away

Charities that pick up clothing donations

The average American gets rid of about 68 pounds of clothes per year. So where does it all go? Unfortunately, most of it will go to a landfill. A 2011 study showed that about 90% of clothes thrown in the trash could have been recycled instead. From military charities to repurposed industrial rags, there are hundreds of places for your old clothes to go and be put to good use! Here is why you should seriously consider recycling your clothes instead of just throwing them out when they don’t fit.

  • It’s much better for the environment. Typically, clothing fabrics make up about 5% of all the trash in landfills. Anything that lowers the amount of landfill waste has got to be good, right? It also would reduce the carbon emissions made while transporting the clothes to the landfill, and reduce the possibility of non-organic contaminants in the soil, such as dyes.
  • Clothes in good condition can go to helping families in need.Many charities are calling for clothing donations. Most of the recipients of these donations are families who can’t afford to buy new clothes, but recently there has been an upsurge in clothing donations for veterans. According to military charities, many veterans struggle to make it financially after their tours – in 2012, the unemployment rate among veterans aged 18 to 24 was 20.4%. Whatever your personal politics on war, you can still show your support for military families by making clothing donations to military charities.
  • Clothes that are no longer wearable can be repurposed. If your old jeans have too many holes, they might be cut up and used as industrial rags. Recycled clothes are also used as furniture stuffing and home insulation. Depending on the material, clothes may be shredded and reprocessed into knitting yarn. Cotton and silk can actually be used to make paper. There’s no telling where your old clothes might end up!