Don’t throw out that ripped t-shirt or old shoes. Recycling clothes and textiles has never been easier. Thrift stores are everywhere and will pretty much take anything you can’t use. If they can’t resell an item, they will pass it along to charity or ship it overseas. If you know that gym towel has seen better days then drop it in the textile recycling bins that are gaining presence in many cities. If yours doesn’t have them yet, there are dozens of websites out there to help you locate a drop off area.
Some companies, such as Patagonia will pay for your shipping if you send them back your old down sweater (of course, their clothing lasts for generations but it’s nice that they offer it). Patagonia uses innovative technology that allows them to reuse material back into their microfleeces and other synthetic fabrics. Patagonia also is up front with their production costs and encourages their customers to “think twice” about purchasing an article of clothing. In their 2011 Black Friday advertisement featured in The New York Times, the company shares with readers:
To make [an R2 jacket] required 135 liters of water, enough to meet the daily needs (three glasses a day) of 45 people. Its journey from its origin as 60% recycled polyester to our Reno warehouse generated nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, 24 times the weight of the finished product. This jacket left behind, on its way to Reno, two-thirds its weight in waste.
Nike is another company that recycles old shoes and reuses them in future productions.
About 39 million pounds of textile waste goes into American landfills annually. Almost all of that could be recycled. While many people are in the habit of donating used clothing, often much of the unsellable items get tossed in the trash. All clothing can be recycled–regardless of condition.
This is a list of companies that already trust us with their recycling process.