Why recycle clothing?
According to the Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia, Australians send around $500 million worth of fashion clothing to the tip each year, yet over 95 per cent of it can be recycled and reused.
Recycle your clothing to:
- conserve raw materials and save water and energy
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- reduce landfill
- provide affordable clothing to needy families and individuals.
How to recycle clothing
Hand-me-downs, charity shops, garage sales and online forums
Reduce, reuse, recycle. Clothing in good condition can be taken to your local charity store or second-hand clothing shops. You might also sell them through online forums and garage sales, or give them to family and friends. The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) ensures its members use all collected goods and proceeds exclusively for their welfare programs. Check with your charity shop to confirm which items are accepted, and remember that leaving items outside a closed store or next to a collection bin is illegal dumping.
Other clothing donation programs
A range of other clothing donation programs offer their proceeds to various good causes such as disadvantaged people looking for employment, and local and international communities in need of clothing and footwear.
Kerbside waste and hard rubbish collections
As a last resort, clothing that can't be reused or recycled can be discarded in your kerbside waste bin or through your local hard rubbish collection.
What happens to recycled clothing?
- Good quality clothes are resold by charities in their retail outlets for fundraising purposes, or they may be given to disadvantaged people.
- Some charities will recycle clothes which are in poor condition into industrial rags, sound-absorption materials, insulation or stuffing. Ask the charity what their acceptance criteria is, because the charity will be liable for any costs associated with sending inappropriate clothing to landfill.
- Some clothing (preferably natural fibres) can be used for weed matting. A community garden or landcare / bushcare group may accept donations.