How to Get Rid of Old Clothes
You have a bunch of old clothes and want to get rid of them, but deciding how is always an overwhelming process. In this blog post, we are going to be looking at some of the 7 R's of sustainability namely reuse, recycle, repurpose, rethink. Let's get into it!
While we all need clothing, there is a sad truth behind our favorite brands and pieces. Sustainability isn't just about environment, but also about livelihood. In a study in the UK, they found that on average a piece of clothing will be worn 7 times. What does that mean to those making our clothes? They have to make more faster. Here are some stats:
Clothes that are not sold are destroyed. To put it in numbers in 2017 Burberry destroyed $36.8 million worth of their merchandise.
250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years to stay out of debt to keep up with buying genetically modified cotton seeds.
Simply put, there are steps we can take to minimize our impact in the fashion industry, even after we buy clothes.
Recycling is the step we all know and love, it's the one we learn in school. Recycling is the easiest because step 1 of being sustainable when getting rid of clothes is knowing NOT to throw them away. Recycling old clothes is a great way to give your clothes a new life. A lot of people don't know this, but even your rattiest oldest pair of socks and underwear can be recycled. In Paris, there are donation bins in which the clothes get sorted and are given several new uses. You can read about it here. In terms of recycling, if it is not given to a second-hand shop, your old clothes can turn into cloth paper towels, it can be spun into new fibers, insulation for buildings, sofa and car stuffing. A simple search "where to donate clothes in ____" will yield you a lot of great places to donate.
Did you know that 75,000 tennis shoes can make 1 athletic field?!
Not all of your old clothes need to be shredded up and used for couch cushions. Your old clothes may be someone's steal! There a lot of ways to reuse your old clothes. You can participate in a clothing swap, this is where a lot of people bring old clothes and they swap items. Let your friends shop your closet, I have a friend who always talks about all of her clothes being from "Bea's closet". While this isn't a store, my friend Bea has a great sense of fashion and regularly gives clothes away to friends. The concept of re-using clothes can bring you closer to a community. There are a lot of flea market and clothing swap groups where you can sell your old clothes or even swap your old clothes for new! Reusing clothes also means donating to a second-hand store or thrift shop. You don't necessarily need to do this all in person, there are several online thrift shops you can sell your clothes at. Some of my favorites are Depop, ThredUp and Thrifted.
If you're looking for a more hands-on project, upcycling and repurposing your old clothes is a great option. As I'm not big on sewing, a lot of what I like to do is repurpose old underwear and socks into rags. I clean my kitchen and bathroom with these rags, which makes me feel better than using brand new cleaning cloths or paper towels. Another fun thing you can do is make dog toys. You can put a waterbottle in an old sock and tie it up. My dog LOVES this. If you're dog isn't big on ingesting their toys, you can also create tassle toys.