Textile Recycling

Here are some interesting statistics: According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually. Textile waste accounts for 5 percent of all landfill waste. Only 15 percent of all post-consumer textile waste gets recycled each year.

I know I haven’t been recycling my clothing, shoes, sheets and blankets. I didn’t know you could. See, I’m cheap. I tend to wear clothes out until they are so raggedy that even a thrift shop couldn’t sell them. And even though I rarely eat catsup, somehow it seems to find its way to the front of every shirt I own, and then stubbornly refuses to leave despite my best cleaning efforts. So I’ve been tossing these things. Silly me.

Turns out you can still donate those unwearable rags to thrift shops and they will reap the benefits, because they can turn around and sell them to textile recyclers. And when those recyclers get these things, they then turn them into rags, insulation, carpet padding, and raw material for the auto industry. That’s brilliant.

The reason I discovered this is that I live in one of the coolest counties in the entire country, and they are promoting what they call “threadcycling”. It’s a program to educate people that this type of recycling can be done. I am all for keeping things out of the landfills, believe you me. So spread the word. We’re all in this together.

Okay, so technically these are “new”. (Kids these days!) But what happens to them when they are worn out? (And how could you tell?)



2 thoughts on “Textile Recycling

  1. Samuel Ramirez

    Hi Barb: I tend to donate a lot of my old or lightly used clothes to local thrift shops (Good Will or Salvation Army). It helps me remove some of the clutter from my apartment and makes me feel like I’m playing a small part in helping others. New Yorkers are very much into exploring and buying from Thrift Shops. In fact, the Salvation Army Store near Times Square is huge. One floor even includes musical instruments (pianos of all sharps and sizes). Another floor has vintage electronics (those big “furniture” like TV sets from the 1960’s). Sometimes I go there just to explore. It’s more like a museum than a store. Many years ago, I bought a pair of Penny Loafers (looked almost new) that my co-workers really admired. Little did they knew that I got them at the Salvation Army!

    1. I do most of my shopping at thrift stores. I feel like my purchase supports a good cause rather than a large corporation. I once bought my mother a flawless London Fog raincoat for 50 cents. She always wanted one, but could never afford it.

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