Have you ever looked in your closet and realized you have clothes you haven’t worn in years? What do you do with them? The unfortunate truth is that many people toss them in the trash, contributing to the growing problem of textile waste. You will be surprised when searching on Google “textile recycling near me”, you will actually find numerous place that has recycling facilities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 17 million tons of textile municipal solid waste were generated in the US in 2018 alone. This issue is not exclusive to the US, as McKinsey & Company estimates that 100 billion garments are produced globally each year. The good news is that textile recycling is a sustainable solution to disposing of unwanted textiles.
Textile recycling can take on many forms, from repurposing old clothes to creating new fabrics. But how do you find textile recycling near you? In this article, we’ll explore the best ways to locate textile recycling near your facilities and what can be recycled. By recycling textiles, we can reduce waste, conserve resources, and help protect the environment for future generations.
What is Textile Recycling?
Textile recycling is the process of recovering fabric, fiber, or yarn and reprocessing the textile material into useful products. Textiles can be anything from towels and clothes to tablecloths. To recycle them, textile waste products are gathered from various sources, including textile recycling bins, organizations, events, or donations. Textiles are sorted and processed depending on their condition, resale value, and composition. The end result of this process differs every time. For example, old clothes could be used as insulation for homes, while others in better condition can even be transformed back into new clothes.
The Best Ways to Find Textile Recycling Near You
Donate Your Textiles
One of the best ways to ensure your textiles get a second shot at life is by donating them. Try searching for “the textile recycling near me” or “textile recycling bin near me” to see what’s around you. Typically, you can find a lot of textile or clothing donation bins around your neighborhood in the shopping center and grocery store parking lots.
You can donate your textiles to friends and family or give them to local thrift or consignment shops like Salvation Army or Goodwill. Local churches and community clothing swaps and drives are also excellent places to donate your lightly used textiles.
Return to Manufacturer
Certain companies will buy or accept clothing back from customers in order to recycle it. Here are some companies that started their own resell programs:
- Patagonia’s Worn Wear
Patagonia’s Worn Wear program allows customers to trade in their old Patagonia gear in exchange for store credit. The old gear is then repaired and resold or recycled into new products.
- Outerknown’s Outerworn
Outerknown’s Outerworn program aims to create a closed-loop system by recycling old clothing into new garments. Customers can send in their old Outerknown clothes and receive a discount on their next purchase.
- Eileen Fisher’s Renew
Eileen Fisher’s Renew program accepts old Eileen Fisher garments and repurposes them into new designs or upcycled products. The program also resells gently worn items and donates the proceeds to charity.
- REI’s Good and Used
REI’s Good and Used program encourages customers to sell or donate their used outdoor gear. The program also offers gently used gear for purchase at a lower price.
- For Days Take Back Bag
For Days’ Take Back Bag allows customers to send in their old clothes (not just For Days brand) for recycling. In exchange, customers receive discounts on their next purchase. The company also uses sustainable materials in its products and aims for zero waste in its manufacturing process.
You can also donate clothes and accessories from any brand to companies like H&M, Lululemon, and American Eagle Outfitters. They offer in-store clothing recycling bins you can drop off your textiles at. You can also try to resell your clothing online at one of these secondhand websites.
Recycle Your Textiles
The next best option is recycling your textiles with companies that accept them. Try looking up “textile recycling near me” or “textile recycling companies near me” via Google to help you locate a local drop-off location.
Generally speaking, here are some textile recycling programs and companies worth looking into:
- San Francisco Department of the Environment
- Wearable Collections
- Earth911’s recycling locator for clothing and accessories
It depends on what program or recycling method you’re using, but you can typically find textile recycling near you for anything from clothes to bedsheets to duvets if you do your research.
Can You Put Textiles in Recycling Bin?
No, you don’t want to put textiles into your regular recycling bin. Fabrics cannot be recycled with most curbside recycling programs. Fabrics can easily get jammed in recycling facility machines.
Where to Donate Old Sheets and Towels Near Me?
You can donate your old sheets and towels to a thrift store if they’re in good enough condition, like Salvation Army or Goodwill. Homeless shelters are in constant need of bedding items and pillows according to Backpacks USA. Of course, double-check with your local homeless shelter first. And please clean your donations beforehand.
If they’re in less desirable conditions, you might be able to donate them to a local animal shelter or an animal rescue charity by you. Call or email them first to see if they accept textile donations. If the old sheets and towels are more like rags, google “textiles recycling near me” or “textile recycling bins near me” and see what pops up. Many cities and states have separate websites dedicated to textile recycling. You can also check your municipality or state recycling programs. When all else fails, upcycling old sheets and towels into rags to use around the home is always a good idea. You can use them for cleaning the bathroom, gross messes, shining a mirror, scrubbing the tub, etc.
What Can I Do with Old Pillows and Duvets?
Finding a textile recycling facility near you is the best option for old pillows and duvets. They cannot be recycled curbside, so keep this in mind. If you live in New York state, try punching in your zip code on this website to see what textile recovery options exist near you. New York City has its own separate website for textile recycling. California also has one for the entire state. If you live in the UK, Dunelm operates a textiles take-back recycling scheme in a selection of their stores and accepts all clean home textiles, including duvets and pillows.
You can also upcycle your old pillows into floor cushions, throw pillows, or pet beds. Old duvets can be upcycled as a beach or picnic mats, pet beds, sleeping bags, or used to protect furniture while moving.
Can We Recycle Old Clothes?
Yes, you can recycle old clothes, but not with traditional curbside recycling. You have to do it at a textile recycling drop-off bin or collection site. I recommend searching for “clothes recycling near me” on Google to see what pops up. Earth911 has a recycling locator for clothes and accessories you can try using. Or, try any of the take-back or resell programs listed above. You can also upcycle old clothes into new items, like transforming jeans into shorts or a cute bag; a t-shirt into a produce bag; a sock into a mug warmer. The possibilities are endless.
Textile recycling is a sustainable way to dispose of unwanted textiles. Donating, returning to manufacturers, recycling, and upcycling are all great ways to reduce textile waste. There is plenty of textile recycling near you options available, including drop-off locations, resell programs, and recycling companies. Do your research and find the best option for your textiles. By doing so, you’ll not only help the environment but also give your textiles a second life.