Recycling Unusable Fabric + Textiles (Underwear Too!)
We’ve talked about how to recycle your plastics, glass, metal, and paper. And you know where to donate items in good condition. But what about those things that can’t be recycled curbside and aren’t in good enough condition (or are just too gross) to donate? MAINLY — old underwear, hole ridden socks, fabric masks, scrap fabric from your sewing endeavors, torn clothing — do these items HAVE to go to the landfill? Not necessarily. Textiles are recyclable but according to the EPA, only about 14% of all textiles are actually recycled. Throwing these items in the trash bin is definitely the easiest option and honestly, what most people do. BUT, if you do feel strongly about keeping all textiles out of landfills — read on.
I’ve definitely struggled to find local/drop off type places (the ideal) for textile recycling of unwearable items. I see plenty of donation options for usable textiles but not textile recycling specifically, especially for items like underwear and scraps. (I know H&M and Zara have boxes in stores but I really don’t trust that the stuff ends up appropriately sorted/recycled.) I’ve rounded up a couple of online options for places that you can ship (again, not ideal) textile recycling to. Some will take all types of items and some are specific to socks or underwear.
Retold Recycling: All types of clothes/scraps (any condition). Paid service and what I use for anything that I can’t donate locally. I buy the prepaid shipping bags, fill them up over the course of the year with hole-y socks, underwear, fabric scraps, and then ship back!
Thousand Fell: All laundered clothes. From their site: “We uniquely guarantee that nothing we collect will make its way abroad, and all materials will fiber-to-fiber recycled, upcycled or downcycled. Never landfill.”
Knickey: Underwear, bras, socks, tights.
Parade Second Life Recycling Kit: Underwear.
Hanky Panky Lingeriecycle: Underwear
zkano Recycles: Socks
Do you have any other places/ideas to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!