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How to recycle clothes even if no charity shop will take them

Need to recycle old clothes when charity shops won’t take them? Here are some alternative ideas on how to recycle your clothes to keep them out of landfill.


By Cleanipedia Team

Clothes recycling

Key steps

  1. Check out your local services online to see if your local council offers clothes recycling as part of its rubbish collection services.
  2. Recycle old clothes into cushions, or simply decorate by re-using the design from favourite old t-shirts.
  3. You can even use old clothes as cleaning rags, which is much more productive than sending them off to landfill!

This is everyone’s clothes recycling nightmare: you’re doing your regular wardrobe clear-out, and you’ve come across a few things you absolutely loved for ages, but are now completely unwearable. Frayed seams, full of holes, and stains that just won’t quit: these clothes are no good for the charity shop. So what do you do? Can you recycle clothes that are too well-loved to give away or sell on?

Thankfully, you can! There are all sorts of ways you can recycle old clothes – here are just a few!

Whatever you decide to do with your old clothes to recycle them, make sure you give them a good clean first. Get the best out of all your clothes – old and new – with detergents and fabric conditioners such as Surf and Comfort.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

How to recycle clothes: Local services

Your local council may offer clothes recycling as part of its rubbish collection service, so it’s worth checking online – it could be that you can recycle old clothes much more easily than you thought. If not, you should be able to find a clothes recycling bank somewhere nearby. Check your local supermarket and rubbish tips, and see what you find there.

If they’re beyond all hope of reuse, the clothes you recycle will be passed on to recycling traders to start a new life. They might be used as car soundproofing or mattress stuffing. One thing’s for sure: they won’t be wasted, and they won’t end up in a landfill site.

Recycle clothes: Ideas for the home

Clothes recycling doesn’t just have to happen at a recycling bank. There are plenty of great ways to upcycle your old clothes around the home, whether it’s for decoration or for cleaning.

Here are just a few ideas for how to recycle clothes from the comfort of your own home:

  • Does your old t-shirt represent a treasured memory you can’t bear to part with? Recycle clothes you got from concerts or events by sewing the main design onto a cushion, or simply framing it for display.
  • There are other ways to recycle old clothes into cushions, too. If you have some cushions that look a bit floppy and sad, use scraps of old clothes to re-stuff them.
  • Turn your clothes recycling into house-cleaning heaven by cutting up holey cottons for re-use. Old t-shirts make great cleaning rags!
  • Recycle old clothes to keep newer ones alive! By saving any useable denim from a pair of unwearable old jeans, you can patch up newer pairs in need of a little TLC.

How does recycling clothes help the environment?

The same way as any other recycling: it stops them going to landfill, where they can take ages to break down, and where synthetic fibres can release all kinds of chemicals into the soil. It also stops the clothes from being incinerated and polluting the atmosphere.

The benefits of recycling clothes

Choosing to recycle old clothes has many benefits: from clearing out space in your wardrobe to helping look after the environment. Do your bit to help and make sure you follow these tips on clothes recycling to avoid sending your old outfits to landfill.

Originally published