There’s a reason the saying “reduce, re-use, recycle” is a classic. It’s short, it’s catchy, and it’s important.
In the US, 10 million tons of textiles are thrown away each year, making up about 5% of landfill sites (Velez, 2017) (Singer, 2021). In this article we’re going to talk about how you can apply a “reduce, re-use, recycle” mentality to your wardrobe to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Being a conscious consumer is important to reduce the amount of clothing you need to throw away, or purchase brand new. In terms of clothing, this means only purchasing clothes you love so that we are less likely to grow tired of them. Skipping trends and only buying what make you feel good and what you think you will like for a long time is key. Second-hand clothing is a great way to implement this too. Second -hand clothes are already in the waste stream and by purchasing them could mean preventing the item going to landfill (Singer, 2021).
Re-using clothing is a great way to cut down on waste by passing them on to someone else or upcycling. If the items are in good condition, you could consider selling them to a local thrift store or online via a platform or donate them to people who are in need (Singer, 2021). If the clothing is no longer wearable you can upcycle and repurpose it into useful items you need around your home, like cleaning cloths (Booth, 2019).
Textile recycling programs can give old clothes that are no longer wearable or useful a new life (Velez, 2017). Recycled textiles can be used for multiple purposes including making insulation for buildings, making the stuffing for pillows and car seats, and sometimes being fully recycled into new fabric (Singer, 2021). To find local opportunities to recycle clothing in your area, search the internet or look for clothing recycling bins and drop off your items.
Recycling and upcycling clothing items require a change of habits to slightly more time-consuming methods but more eco-friendly practices. However, it is 100% worth it and incredibly that we reduce our impact on the planet, one old pair of jeans at a time.
Author: Bethany Newark
Booth, J. (2019). How To Recycle Clothes & Shoes That Aren’t In Good Condition. Retrieved from Bustle: https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-recycle-clothes-shoes-that-arent-in-good-condition-15723408
Singer, L. (2021). How To: Recycle Old Clothing. Retrieved from Trash is for Tossers: https://trashisfortossers.com/how-to-recycle-old-clothing
Velez, H. (2017). 10 Impactful Ways To Recycle & Repurpose Used Clothing. Retrieved from The Good Trade: https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/how-to-recycle-and-repurpose-clothing