Buying clothes made from recycled materials is one thing, but you can also up your game by recycling your own clothing. Taking another step towards sustainability and wondering how to recycle clothes? We can help with that. Whether you choose to sell your old items, take them to the charity shop or even the tip, these methods are all miles better than them ending up in landfill. We’ll talk you through all the ways to recycle clothing or even re-purpose them to extend their life further.
Ways To Recycle Clothing
• Textile recycling – this is usually someone’s first port of call when looking for ways to recycle clothing. There are plenty of places to drop your old clothes off, including your local recycling centre. Find out more about the textile recycling process further on in the blog.
• Clothes bank – similar to textile recycling, another way you can recycle old clothing is by giving it to a clothes bank. You can find these in supermarket car parks or at recycling centres. The difference is that the clothes donated to banks can be sorted through and given to the appropriate charities – as opposed to re-purposing the fabric itself.
• Donate to retailers – Shops up and running again? Plenty of high street retailers now offer an in-store service where you can return unwanted clothes or fabric and receive a discount on your next purchase.
• Run a clothes swap – Wondering how to recycle clothing and get something out of it too? Try organising a clothes swap. Whether it’s with friends, colleagues or the community, a clothes swap is a great way to get rid of your unloved items without having to throw them away. Although this may be difficult in the current climate, so why not add it to the diary at a point in the near future? That way, you’ve got plenty of time to get your items together.
• Re-use and re-purpose – If you’ve grown out of your favourite top or a garment has been badly damaged, there’s nothing stopping you from using the fabric itself. From cleaning rags to sewing your own face coverings, there are a wealth of ways to recycle clothing materials.
What Is The Clothes Recycling Process?
We mentioned textile recycling earlier, but what is the clothes recycling process? In the UK, the process is as follows:
1. Any clothing or textiles are sorted and graded by colour and material – especially for garments made from natural materials. Sorting the clothes by colour helps to eliminate the need for re-dying, and therefore further reduces the amount of chemicals and energy used in the process.
2. Once sorted, the fabric is then made into fibres and combined with others to make the final product.
3. Before being made into mattresses, furniture filling, car insulation or many more products, the fibres are thoroughly cleaned, spun and then compressed.
The steps above highlight how to recycle cotton clothing and other natural materials, but how can clothes be recycled if they’re made from manmade fabrics?
1. Firstly, any hard plastics like zips or buttons are removed.
2. The fabric is then cut into many small pieces before being shredded, granulated and reduced to pellets.
3. These pellets are then ready to be used for the desired new product.
And that’s how to recycle clothes! Remember, your clothes don’t need to contribute to landfill. With so many different ways to recycle clothing, we can all help to protect the planet from climate change. Interested in finding out how you can be more environmentally conscious with your clothing in other ways? Check out our sustainable clothing guide online.