Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 22nd January 2022

Sustainable Ways To Get Rid Of Unwanted Clothing

photo by Sarah Brown on unsplash
photo by Sarah Brown on unsplash
With a new year finally upon us, there seems no better opportunity to tackle a wardrobe clear-out.​​ Whether you’ve suddenly discovered clothes lurking in the back of the closet or want to shake up your style, January is the perfect time for decluttering.

More than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year, and each Briton throws away about 1.7kg of fashion waste. That’s why it's important that we recycle and get rid of unwanted clothing more sustainably.

Fortunately, Trend Expert at WeThrift, Nick Drewe has shared seven tips to help clean out your closet more sustainably:

Upcycle or mend clothing

Before throwing out clothing items that are slightly damaged, whether they are just missing a button or have a stain, think about upcycling or mending the item. Refabricing old items will create a unique and exciting new piece of clothing for your wardrobe. You can take the item to your local repair shop or just do it yourself.

Sell clothing online

If you want to get rid of unwanted clothing and make some pennies in the process, it's easy to do and there are a lot of different options available. Try Depop, eBay or Vinted for selling second-hand clothing items or if an item is slightly damaged you can still list it on apps like this, you just need to notify potential buyers of wear and tear details.

Or if you’re selling in bulk, pop it on Facebook Marketplace. Alternatively, you can use the Regain app to get your clothes reused, recycled or remade while you receive discount coupons in return. The app works with the British Red Cross to find textile recycling schemes, students, fashion designers and charity shops to ensure fashion doesn’t go to waste.

Give away to family and friends

Hand-me downs are an environmentally friendly way to get the most out of your clothes and can help friends and family save some pennies. If you’ve changed size or grown tired of an item, gift them to a friend or family member that fits - but make sure they want the item before you palm it off on them and wash the clothes before you pass them along.

Children’s clothing is great for passing down to others, as kids grow fast so thousands of tonnes of clothes end up in landfills each year. To help reduce waste, reach out to parents in your community to see if anyone is looking for children's clothing.

Donate to those in need

While there are some great places to give unwanted clothing to, one thing to note is that these donated items don’t always end up in the hands of those in need. With the amount of clothing donated to charity shops, some simply can’t keep up. That means it’s common for a lot of these items to be sent overseas or to a landfill.

Before donating clothes to your local charity shop, call or visit ahead to ask what they specifically need and what items won’t be of use to them. Give all items a wash before and make sure all clothing is fit to be used, so no broken zippers, stains or missing buttons.

If you have a large collection of items, like children’s clothes, shoes, consider separating them into categories for donation by size, season or type of clothing.

Use a brand’s recycling scheme

Many brands offer recycling services in exchange for vouchers. You can take your unwanted clothing to TK Maxx, M&S, H&M, Levis or Primark to make donations, or you can request packaging and take them to a local postage drop off point. Some brands will exchange your bag of clothing for money off vouchers and store discounts.

Repurpose items that can't be mended

Clothes that are damaged, stained or unmendable can be repurposed into new items or donated to textile and fabric recycling facilities. You can do pretty much anything with unwanted clothing items, you could turn an old jumper into a cushion cover or create a bed throw from your favourite recycled t-shirts. If you have an old pair of ripped jeans lying around, simply grab a pair of scissors and turn them into shorts.

Recycle your clothes responsibility

People can donate unwanted clothing for reuse and recycling through a number of different organisations and schemes. You can take clothing to a local shop yourself or put them in a textile and clothing bank provided by charities, you can often find these at supermarkets or at the local Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

The best way to find local recycling options is to use the Love Your Clothes Recycling Locator, where you can find a textile recycling bank by simply popping in your post-code.