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Recycling Old Clothes and Upcycle Fashion Ideas

Have you ever thought about Recycling Old Clothes? If you have ever cleaned out your closet and wondered what to do with all the stuff you didn’t want anymore, read on for ways to reuse old clothing and Upcycle Fashion Ideas.

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Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is ‘fast’ in a number of senses: the rate of production is fast; the customer’s decision to purchase is fast; delivery is fast; and garments are worn fast, usually only a few times before being discarded. It is a model that is entirely unsustainable.

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Our society has a huge Fast Fashion problem. We buy cheap clothing at an alarming rate, the clothes are made cheaply so they are thrown out quickly, and often it’s after just a few months of wear. This causes a lot of damage to our environment, not only through the production and transportation of the items, but when the items break down in landfills, they put chemicals into the ground.

The items break down dyes, synthetic materials, and other chemicals, which go directly into the ground. We need to learn to stop tossing these items in the trash instead of Recycling Old Clothes.

(I’ve already written an entire article on Fast Fashion, and you can read that here.)


If you go through your closet and have items that are still in good condition, please consider donating your old clothing items. If you don’t have any plans to actually use the old clothes, there is no point holding onto them when someone else could be using them. You can donate to your local food bank or women’s shelter, you can also consider donating to salvation army or another second hand store, where your donations can help charities.

Check out this website for a detailed list of where to donate old or used clothes. Donating things you won’t use or wear is a great way of Recycling Old Clothes and gives your clothes a new life.

Upcycle Fashion Ideas

If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of certain pieces of clothing, you many want to consider recycling old clothes into something you could still wear or use regularly.

Here are a few ideas:

DIY Ideas

There are tons of Upcycle Fashion Ideas that you can use your old clothing for. If you are looking to flex that DIY muscle, check out these fun projects.

  • Sock Monkeys made from an old pair of socks. These are really cute, and relatively easy if you have some thread and a needle.
  • Denim Bucket made from old jeans. This is a great way to use an old pair of jeans! Make a few of these buckets and organize your desk or your kids’ toys.
  • Crochet Rug made with old tshirts. This is a great project if you know how to crochet. Tshirts are something that get thrown out pretty frequently.
  • Tote Bag made from an old tshirt. This tutorial is super easy and you don’t need to sew anything! These totes would be great for grocery shopping!
  • Camera Strap made from an old scarf. Really cute, and I bet more comfortable than a regular camera strap!
  • Coin Purse made from a dress shirt cuff.

There are tons of projects for every skill level.

RELATED POST: Cleaning With Hydrogen Peroxide

Recycling Old Clothes

If you have articles of clothing or even shoes that aren’t in good condition and you want to get rid of them, consider sending them to a company that specializes in recycling old clothes.

You can send items to companies and they can do various things with old textiles. There are a lot of things that can be made from old, unwanted clothing. Things like insulation, upholstery stuffing, cloth scraps or rags, or even re-using the old clothing item into something that can be worn again.

When you donate your old clothes to a textile recycling company, the company will sort the items into three categories; reuse, scraps, and fiber. Most of the time, the items are sorted through by hand, by someone who has been trained and has a good eye for telling the difference in the three groups quickly and efficiently.

You can learn more here.


Just Do Something!

In this day and age, there really aren’t many excuses as to why a person just can’t recycle. We have so many resources available to us that actually help us recycle and do it in the right way. We also have local programs that help divert recyclables from landfills to places that can sort items to be reused. My community, for example, gives everyone large blue bins to put out every second week. The blue bins are solely for recyclable items, and through this program, we have diverted almost 20% of the waste that had gone to landfills previously!

There are also tons of places you can donate your old clothes to. You can bring them straight to your local women’s, men’s, or homeless shelters, local food banks, or even just drop your bags of gently used goods into the bins you can find around town. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about too! We have all seen the bins near our local grocery stores. If you don’t know where they are, you can call your local town hall and ask where you can drop off gently used clothing items, they will be happy to help you out!

The main goal here is to keep as much out of landfills as possible. If items are still good and usable, or if they can be broken down and recycled in some way, there is no need to throw it in the garbage. It may take some getting used to, but before tossing an item think about it first, is it really garbage or can it live a second life?

RELATED POST: Tips for Living a More Sustainable Lifestyle

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