Each year 300,000 tons of clothing ends up being thrown in the bin in the UK alone. 95% of this is material that can be recycled yet 85% of it will end up in landfills. Our landfills are already full to the brim, releasing harmful greenhouse gases and contributing to global warming.
Not only that but each piece of clothing you wear has gone through several manufacturing processes. From the production and dying of the material itself through to cutting and sewing the garment into its finished piece. This all takes up a large amount of energy and resource.
So what can we do to help reduce the amount of clothing ending up in landfill? Reuse, Repair and Recycle. This post will give you suggestions on what to do with the clothing you no longer need to avoid it ending up in the bin.
Buy Good Quality
First things first, buying good quality clothing means you’ll get more use out of it. It may cost you more initially, but the better quality the clothing you buy is the better chance it has of staying in good condition for longer. It is less likely to fall apart at the seams, fade in colour or stretch out of shape. The longer it lasts the more likely you are to keep it, wear it and won’t need to replace it as quickly.
Keep Your Clothes
Another simple way for clothing to avoid ending up in landfill is to keep them. If you treat your garments well by following the care instructions and storing them correctly then you will get more use out of them. Here is my previous blog post….. With tips on how to look after your clothing.
Learning how to repair your clothes is a skill that will come in handy time and time again. Watch a quick YouTube video on how to sew on a button or fix a seam and you’ll be mending your own clothes in no time.
You can also jazz up an old piece of clothing with some new embellishments such as adding sequins, beads and buttons or using embroidery. There are lots of ways to keep your wardrobe looking fresh. Pinterest is also a great place for lots of inspiration.
If your clothes are in good condition but you simply no longer want it then why not swap it with a friend or relative? You can even host a Clothes Swapping party where everyone brings a couple of good quality items and you each get to try out and swap.
This does tend to work best when you are similar in size and shape but it’s amazing the things you might not want but someone else would love.
There are now several places you can resell your unwanted clothes and accessories in return for money.
Ebay is probably the most popular but places such as Depop, Vinted, Worn It and Vestaire are also becoming more common places when selling your clothes.
If you have an item that is over 20 years old it is also considered Vintage which means you can also sell it on Etsy.
Retail Take Back Programs
Did you know you can now drop off unwanted clothing at some shops? Some may even give you a discount on your next purchase in their store. Here is a list of shops in the UK that currently participate in a Take Back Program:
- TK Maxx
Donating our unwanted clothes and some home textiles is a great way to giveback to your local community and give your items a second lease of life. Donating doesn’t cost you anything and can be quick and convenient if you know where to go.
Here are some suggestions of great places to donate your unwanted clothes:
- Jumble Sales
- Charity Shops
- Animal Shelters - textiles such as duvets can also be donated
- Charity Collections - often in the form of plastic bag envelopes that go through your door
If none of the suggestions above suit your needs then you can also consider recycling your clothes by dropping them off at a local clothing bin. These can be found in supermarket carparks, recycling centers and council grounds. You can also use the link below to find your nearest one.
They take the following items:
- Adult and children’s clothing
- Paired shoes
- Linen - pillow and duvet cases, sheets and curtains
I hope that this post has been useful and next time you have a clear out of your clothes you can use one of the suggestions.