We’ve all got clothes that we’ve literally worn to death, so when it comes to passing it on, where do we recycle the items that aren’t good enough for the charity shop? I get asked this a lot. So in today’s blog, I’m going to address that very question.
Before I get started on the ‘where’ to recycle your old clothes, I wanted to highlight the big issue we have. Almost 1/3 of clothing in the UK ends up in the bin according to WRAP. When you become aware of the number of resources that go into making a single garment, it feels criminal for textiles to be dumped into landfill. There are so many things that can be done with our old clothes. Old clothing becomes that can no longer be used for its original purpose gets renamed as ‘rags’. This presents an awesome opportunity for those in the rag industry to take our unwanted clothes (for free) diverting them from landfill, and seeing that they are chopped up, recycled and sold onto someone else who can turn these rags into stuffing for furniture, for example.
Where to recycle your old clothes:
1. Take to your local recycling facility (the dump)
Your local dump will have facilities for all kinds of waste and recycling. It will also have a section for textile recycling. Bag it up and make sure you label it clearly so it doesn’t accidentally go into household waste (which will go to landfill).
2. Call your local council
Give your local authorities a call or check out their website. Some boroughs have more focused campaigns in operation to help their community hit recycling targets. You may live in an area where the council can come and collect your textile waste.
3. Google “Textile recycling centres in London”
Yes, it sounds silly but its actually that easy. I put in a search for ‘Textile recycling centres in London” and a list of centres on a map showed up on Google.
4. Find a local clothing bank
You’ve probably seen them dotted around London in different neighbourhoods, in supermarket carparks and other random locations (like outside libraries), these are the big metal clothing banks. They are perfect for depositing your bits and pieces if you can’t make it to a charity shop.
Check to see if they require ‘usable’ pieces, or if they are able to take textile waste. Some will vary.
I’ve found that clothing banks don’t always stay in the same locations. So its best to check it’s still where you think it is before trecking across with bags full of clothing. Check out Recycle Now to find the nearest one to you.
5. Call Traid to see if they can collect
It may be worth spending a bit of time repairing your items which you deemed unfit for the charity shop. Every little effort we make to keep clothes in circulation longer means they are diverted from landfill for as long as possible.
Once your pieces are fit for use, you can call charities like Traid to come and pick up from your house. A lot of charity shops in North London where I live offer collections – just call them up and ask.
Have I missed anything? Do you know of a resource that I should include on this blog? Let me know in the comments.