By Paige Baxter and Yhanni Guadalupe-Butcher

Did you know that 6.3 percent of the waste stream is from clothing and household textiles? Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART) says that’s equal to 81 pounds of textiles being thrown away each year in the United states. In the U.S., the EPA estimated that the generation of textiles in 2015 was 16 million tons. Sadly, more than half of the amount created ends up in a landfill. 

SMART says that almost 95 percent of gently used clothing can be reused or recycled. Luckily, there are several ways you can help reduce the amount of clothing and other textile products from going into landfills.

Here’s how:

  • Donate your clothes so someone else can love them for longer. This is a great option, especially if you don’t want to try and sell your belongings. Find your local drop-off centers for clothes and shoes.
    • Donate gently used shoes to Soles 4 Souls
    • Does your bra not fit anymore? Send it off to be recycled at The Bra Recyclers.
    • H&M accepts unwanted clothes at their various locations and reuses the fabrics or resells them.
    • Find a charity that will pick up your clothing, furniture and other household items for free!
    • Recycle your denim jeans that are made from cotton
  • Buy second-hand items from thrift stores and consignment shops as much as you can to avoid contributing to the mass production of new clothes and products. 
  • Repair holes and other tears in clothes when possible
  • Resell your old clothes through various online platforms to make some extra dough. Plus it gives your once-loved items a new home that isn’t a landfill.
  • Invest in repairing quality shoes to make them last even longer. 
  • Find new uses for old clothes such as turning shirts into cleaning rags.
  • Are your clothes worn out beyond donation? Recycle the textiles with Simple Recycling
  • Get creative and make new clothes from your old ones!

Do you have more tips for how to recycle clothing? Let us know at [email protected]