Eco Friendly Things To Do With Unwanted Clothes

Eco Friendly Things To Do With Unwanted Clothes

Ten Things You Can Do With Unwanted Clothes

1) Donating Unwanted Clothes to Charity Shops

Donating to charity is obvious, but like you may have read in the media, it should be done with caution. There’s a great post here on 1Million Women on the pros and cons of donating clothes to charity (spoiler: it’s not all bad). If you have something that you couldn’t realistically see yourself buying (quality-wise, I mean), then find something else from this list. Donating trash to charity shop as a means of getting rid just gives charities more work for less money.

I’ve donated a lot of good-quality clothes recently because my weight has been fluctuating (read: I’ve gained weight recently) so I’ve had to totally re-hash my wardrobe. By taking them to a charity shop, I like to think they’ll be worn and worn until they’re all tatty and holes.

2) Give Clothes You Don’t Want to Friends

I suppose this is fairly obvious, too, but letting your friends have a quick rummage before you ship bags off to the charity shop ensures they’ll be put to good use. I always think: It’s better to know where they’re going, especially if they’re still of good quality. Some of my favourite jumpers used to belong to my friends, and I love seeing them rocking clothes that just didn’t look right on me!

3) Re-hash the Material With a Sewing Machine

Sometimes broken clothes can be an easy fix; a few stitches or a patch over the knee and you’re as good as new! Or, very slightly more hip-looking.

There have been times when I’ve taken a pair of scissors to something I didn’t like, and turned it into something I did. Granted, it is risky (there have been a few times where I thought ‘Oh my goodness, what on earth have I done?!’ but if you weren’t wearing the piece anyway, there’s no harm in giving it a go. When it works, you get a totally new garment for free, and when it doesn’t, you can just follow #4!

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4) Cut Old Clothes into Cloth Pieces

Since we started cutting down our waste, Joe and I have ditched the kitchen roll and started using cloths and rags to clean up around us. Proper, shop-bought cloths are restricted to Proper Cleaning, and we use home-made rags to clear up spillages and clean the floors.

You can literally make these rags out of just about anything. For us, they’re mostly made of holey t-shirts and towels.

5) Sell Old Clothes on Depop or Ebay

Anything in good condition, or that you were once particularly fond of, ought to be sold. Of course, if you’re feeling charitable then donation is always a good option, but I often feel as though a charity shop might not sell an expensive item for what it’s worth. Opening a Depop shop or Ebay account can help you to sell good-quality items, or you can even sell on Facebook these days. (‘These days’? What am I, seventy?)

6) Shred and Compost Clothes Made From Natural Fibres

This won’t work for anything synthetic, but anything made of natural materials such as cotton, hemp, linen or wool can be composted. I’d only recommend doing this if you really think you’ve already had the most out of your clothes – there’s no point in composting something that someone else could get use from, even if it is just as a cleaning cloth.

7) Turn Tatty Clothes into Painting Overalls

Rather than buying overalls to cover your clothes, just wear old ones! This might not be as relevant to people who don’t have much need for them, but Joe and I have an entire box full of painting clothes. There’s almost always something we end up needing them for, whether it’s painting props and set, or painting a room a different colour (don’t tell him, but I totally want to re-do the bathroom…).

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8) Turn the Material into Textiles Projects

My favourite examples of this are with old jeans materials. I’ve saved so many of these projects on Pinterest, but I must admit I have two pairs of holey jeans in our store cupboard with still no sign of being creatively re-used.

I have visions of myself up-cycling our cushion covers with decorations and covering flowerpots or making jewellery. I just need to get to the end of my to-do list first, and the last time that happened… wait, I don’t think that’s ever happened before.

9) See if the Shop Runs a Buy-Back Scheme

Plenty of shops nowadays are running buy-back schemes, which means that even if the clothes are worn or used, you can sell them back to the place where you bought them for a reduced price. John Lewis has been trialling such a system recently, which sees unwanted clothes re-sold, repaired or recycled. I think this is a great, fuss-free way to get some of your money back on unloved clothes!

John Lewis ‘buy-back’ scheme gives customers money for their unwanted clothes


10) Put Old Clothes in Textiles Recycling Bins

Clothes that end up in textile recycling bins can become all sorts of things, but if the material is too tatty to be resold or repaired, it often ends up being sold as insulation or packing materials. Obviously there’s no sure-fire way to ensure this is what’ll happen to your rags, but as far as I know it’s your best bet. (And whilst we’re here, buying recycled insulation is a great way to put old clothes, newspapers and even plastic bottles to good use when cosying-up your home!)

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