Waste not Want Not? I often get questions about how to re-purpose clothes that are too worn to be used again…. but there are MANY OTHER uses. Here are a few basic ideas for the ripped / destroyed clothes
- QUILTS –– cut out squares of the material, or the logo / school name and use again.
- Make a shopping bag. Put two tee shirts together- cut out the neckline with a deep U shape, and sleeves and sew the bottom end shut the Shoulders will be your handles and the bag will be great for groceries and soft for vegetables. And best of all, washable.
- Rags. You know how to do this.
- Stuff a pillow case with worn out clothes and use a s a dog / cat bed. Easy to re-stuff, and wash.
- RE-sew an item. For example: Cut a ripped man’s shirt down, and make a cute skirt for a little girl, keeping the buttons and pocket, adding an elastic waist. Make a stuffed toy, or a cloth piggy, like Ms. Oink.
- Contact a re-cycler. In the Bay Area we have a wonderful group: SCRAP. They gather materials to reuse, and give them away for free to TEACHERS, and sell them for a small about to consumers.
You will also be interested in these 8 Insane Facts About Textile Recycling posted by USAgain on their blog. Great motivation to RE-USE.
No matter what side of the Atlantic you represent, the extent of personal textile waste is staggering. One battle that both Brits and Americans are losing is the battle against textile waste. Here’s why:
- The average lifetime of a piece of clothing is only about 3 years.
- The consumer is the biggest culprit. In the U.S., 75% of pre-consumer textile waste is recycled by manufacturers, but only 15% of post-consumer textile waste is recycled.
- The average American throws away about 70 pounds of clothing, shoes and other household textiles each year.
- Americans generate almost 13 million tons of textile waste per year. Brits generate about 1.12 million tons of textile waste a year.
- Even though the UK appears to generate less textile waste, One in five Brits admit to throwing away a garment after a single wear. This means that more than $127 million of clothing winds up in landfills each year after being worn once. (One in five Brits also think that light sabers exist.)
- One in four American women own seven pairs of jeans, but only wear four of them regularly. (One in Four Americans also don’t know what nation the U.S. declared independence from.)
- The U.S. textile recycling industry creates around 17,000 jobs and removes 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile product from waste stream each year.
- Over 70% of the world’s population uses secondhand clothes.
By placing drop boxes for used clothes across the country, USAgain has saved over 480 million items of clothing from landfills, and they aren’t stopping there.
Make a change in your own life by depositing reusable clothes, shoes and household textile in a USAgain dropbox near you.