I can’t count the number of times I have rescued clothing, textiles, shoes, or leather products from trash cans. “Wait, we can recycle that!’
We are all aware of donation sites for wearable/usable clothing, shoes, leather accessories and household textiles. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other Thrift Stores can sell these items. They can also be sold online. But, what do you do with the items that no one else would want, such as the ones with holes, stains, or the ones that are just worn out? These items can be recycled! Some can be cut down into pieces and sold as rags. Some are sorted according to fabric and will be shredded for fiberfill or stuffing and insulation.
USagain (Use Again), www.usagain.com and WearEver Recycling https://www.weareverrecycling.com/ utilize drop off bins located outside of retail buildings. They will accept clean and dry clothing, leather accesories, shoes and household textiles. 50-80% of their donations are worn again. Used clothing offers a huge savings to consumers. Items that cannot be reworn or reused will be recycled. They ask that items be put into bins in a tied plastic bag. Please note, their websites state clothing must be wearable. I called to verify and unwearable or unusable items will be recycled.
The retailer H and M has a global initiative called Garment Collection Program. They recycle any textiles; any brand, and in any condition. They are then sent to the nearest recycling plant, where they are sorted by hand. In return, you will receive a discount card for 15% off your next in-store purchase.
American Eagle also has a recycling program They teamed with I:CO which stands for “I Collect”. Customers can drop off old jeans, shirts and shoes in the I:CO boxes found in American Eagle stores. Every item collected is fully recycled and recreated into new textiles. They may be remade into a new piece of clothing, made into cleaning cloths, recycled as fiber for carpet padding and insulation and even upcycled. Upcycled items are recreated into interesting new products. Proceeds from this program go to Student Conservation Association. Customers get $5.00 off any American Eagle jeans they purchase. Win, win!
So next time you are tempted to toss used, unwearable or unusable textiles of any kind, shoes, or leather accessories, think again. I keep a bag in my garage at all times, to put these items. When the bag is full, I tie and donate. Just be sure the items are clean and dry. Yes, toss those sneakers in the wash!
For additional resources on recycling and more retailers who offer recycling sites, refer to this resource on my website. https://keystolivinglight.com/reduce-reuse-and-recycle-links/