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Everything You Need To Know About Textile Recycling

Everything You Need To Know About Textile Recycling

You probably already know that textile recycling is important. But do you know why it's so important? Or what even counts as "textiles" in the first place? And what can be recycled? We'll go over everything you need to know to help make textile recycling an essential part of your life—after reading through this guide, you'll never look at your old jeans or t-shirts the same way again.

Textile recycling is a great way to help the environment, and it's easy! It feels excellent to know that your clothes are being put to good use instead of being thrown away. Continue reading if you want to help the planet and ensure your clothing purchases positively impact the world.

What Kind of Clothing Can I Recycle?

Textile recycling takes many forms. You can donate clothing and other textiles to charity or recycle them by reusing them in your daily life. You also have the option of repurposing your old items or upcycling them into new products such as bags and blankets. In some cases, you might choose to downcycle your clothing items into simpler versions that are easier to use with fewer resources, such as turning a cotton shirt into a cleaning rag.

You can recycle any clothing, shoes, belts, purses, and backpacks you might have lying around—they will be sorted for recycling at the end of their life cycle.

Recycled textiles are broken down into fibers, then used in new products. This means that every item you recycle has an eco-friendly second life ahead of it. If you are creative, you can upcycle your clothing as well. The goal of upcycling is to turn an item into another item with minor adjustments. For example, you could turn your old concert T-shirts into one-of-a-kind skirts; if you recycle the material used to create, you only need to buy bulk elastic to complete the project.

How Is Textile Recycling Different From Selling Used Clothes?

Textile recycling is for clothes that are no longer wearable. If your clothing is in good condition, you should donate it. Donate to organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army so that you know you are supporting a community cause. If you choose to sell your clothes at consignment stores or thrift stores, you may make a small profit, but you have little control over how much the items resale for or if they even sell at all. Recycling allows you to send your clothes off for good use or repurposing rather than storage in a new location.

What used to be middle school DIY projects are now becoming common practice as a green solution. Creating a “second life” for a garment takes creativity and craftiness, but the outcome is often a one-of-a-kind piece. If your items are in bad shape, you can recycle them into cleaning cloths and insulation fibers, among other things. Textile recyclers can also use old clothes to create new products like rugs, reusable shopping bags, or carpets.

Where Can I Find Textile Recycling Centers?

If you're looking for a textile recycling center in your city, you may have a handful of options. When searching for textile recycling programs near you, be sure to also specify the kind of items you are looking to recycle, such as clothing, linens, or other materials. You might find some good results!

There are often receptacles planted in parking lots near major department stores such as Target or Walmart. These drive-up donation sites are a great way to conveniently drop off unwanted items. After the items are sorted, the collection is usually divided into donated items to benefit a non-profit, given away for resale, or recycled into something new. 

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of having to contact someone in your local government, you can search online for textile recycling organizations. There are dozens of websites that list companies that recycle textiles in every state and major city across America—and even some countries overseas!

If there aren’t any textile recyclers in your area, you can contact manufacturers directly and see if they have a recycling program available for their products.

Recycle Your Clothes and Help the Planet

Our landfills receive tons of textile waste every year. The surplus occurs because there isn't enough demand for the endless clothing supply. Instead of dumping your unwanted wardrobe into the trashcan on the curb, consider what you now know about textile recycling and make a better choice.

Textile recycling is an industry that's growing, and it's creating jobs. The process entails a variety of steps, including donating, collecting, sorting, and processing textiles, as well as transporting the materials to the end-user. Each of these roles requires a person to perform the tasks and provides a potential opportunity for employment.

Recycling in general is a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep our planet healthy. When you recycle clothing, you're keeping it out of landfills. In addition, recycling reduces the need to produce new clothing, which requires energy and can produce harmful emissions.


The world's textile waste problem is only getting worse. By 2030, our combined trash output will increase by 70 percent if we don't change how we deal with unwanted clothing. Luckily, there are many ways that you can help reduce your impact on the environment and prevent more of this waste from being dumped into landfills. Donating clothes to a thrift store, selling them online through apps like ThredUp or Poshmark, or giving them away for free on sites like Craigslist or Freecycle are just a few options at your disposal.

If you have old clothes that you are no longer wearing, it is a great idea to figure out a way to recycle them. One of the best ways to do this is by donating your unwanted clothing items to charities that accept donations. You can do this by taking them to the nearest charity shop or arranging for someone from the charity to pick them up from your home. Another option is recycling old clothes by turning them into something else, such as rags for cleaning purposes or stuffing for toys, pillows, and other furniture items. With a bit of creativity, you can help reduce the world’s textile waste.

Everything You Need To Know About Textile Recycling
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