5 Hacks to Give Clothing a Second Chance

How to dispose of old garments that can no longer be worn.

Woman cleaning out unwanted clothing from her closet.

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Used garments that you no longer wear can be donated to a worthy cause. And clothing with broken zippers or missing buttons can be repaired and worn again. But what do you do when your favorite shirt is too frayed to wear or your socks have more holes than material?

Every year in the UK, 336,000 British tons of unwanted old clothing and shoes get thrown out and ends up in landfills, according to Recycle Now. This contributes to greenhouse gasses and allows dyes and chemicals to get into the soil. So, instead of throwing away old not so gently worn clothing, try one of these five eco-friendly ways to give these items a second chance.  

Repurpose Into Cleaning Rags

A very good way to reuse old textiles made of cotton like T-shirts is to cut the garments up and use as rags around your home, reported the New York Times. The rags can be washed and reused, unlike paper towels and they are greener than using microfiber cleaning towels that shed fibers when laundered.

Worn out clothing cn be used to clean with.
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Donate to Animal Shelters

Animal shelters are always looking for used towels and blankets to keep their animals warm, according to Chatelaine. And while you are dropping off your textiles, remember that shelters could use donations of unopened pet food and supplies too.

Keep shelter pets cozy with old towels and blankets.

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Get Crafty

One of the best ways to dispose of unwanted clothing is to repurpose it into something completely different. If you are crafty, you can use shredded textiles as fill for pillows or turn something you cherished into a stuffed animal. You can also share the bounty by donating clothing scraps to a preschool for art projects.

Repurpose old clothing into something new.

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Scrap It

You can bring clothing to a donation bin (not a thrift store that takes only wearable clothing) where it will be sent to be sorted, shredded, and reused. You can also check with your sanitation department to see if there are special textile recycling options, reported NYT.

Shredded old clothing.

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Send to Recyclers

There are nationwide recycling options in the US that include the industrial recycler TerraCycle or the clothing company For Days. For a small fee, For Days will ship you a bag that can be filled with up to 25 pounds of used clothing and sent to the company for reuse. When the bag is received, the sender receives a credit to be used on the company’s website. Everything For Days sells is made of recycled fibers.

Some clothing brands also have their own recycling services. Carters program accepts any brand of children’s clothing in any condition and the program from Parade, an underwear company, accepts any brand of underwear. Other retailers will take back their own clothing brand.

Send used clothing to recyclers.

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