Jeans, buttons, old coats

What is it? 

Clothing is cheaper than it used to be -- both in price and in quality -- and almost no one knows how to mend anymore. On average, a single person produces 82 pounds of textile waste per year, 85% of which is sent to the landfill. As a result, we're creating avalanches of clothing discards.  

What is the issue? 

Throwing away clothes is a missed opportunity to allow others to benefit from them – whether they are used as is, or are recycled into something new. Only about 15 % of textile waste is collected for recycling or reuse. Used clothing and textiles take up a lot of space in landfills. 

Where can it go? 

Click to search textiles

 If an item is still in good condition but no longer fits you, there is a new home for it somewhere. Try clothing swaps with friends, selling items (i.e. gently used kids clothing) online, take them to a local consignment shop, or donate them to a charity. You may also be able to reuse some in your home as rags.Check out our Waste Reduction Hub to find a business or drop-off bin near to you that accepts clothing and accessories as donations. 

What happens after? 

Collected clothing that cannot be reused is sent to a clothing recycler where it is sorted and graded on quality. Organic fibers are sorted in terms of colour and then torn into fibers. Once the fibers are cleaned and spun, they can be used for things like mattress production, filling for furniture padding, panel linings, loudspeaker cones, and car insulation. Synthetic fibers are melted and respun into new synthetic fibers. 

How can I reduce? 

  • Focus on purchasing good quality clothing – not what is trendy. 

  • Fix what you can. YouTube is a great place to find repair tutorials. You don’t always need a sewing machine to mend things, a simple needle and thread can do a lot. 

  • Hang dry your clothes. Dryers use extra electricity andshorten the life of your clothes by wearing them thin (all those fibers in the lint trap have to come from somewhere). 

  • Purchase used clothing.