Op-shops, charities and other clothing donation programs are an awesome way to give your old clothes a second life. If you would give the item to a friend, then it’s good to donate, if not, here’s what you can do instead.
Offer your items via a local Facebook group such as Buy Nothing. You’d be surprised what people can use for things such as craft or sewing projects.
Upparel (formerly Manrags)
This charity accepts clothing, shoes and bed linen (including those which are old and damaged). Items that can’t be reused are repurposed or recycled for things such as insulation or pet bed stuffing.
Give clothes back to the retailers
Fashion giants H&M and Zara both have garment collection programs in all of their stores. They accept all clothing - any brand, in any condition - which they either donate to charities (if it's in good condition) or send to a fabric fibre recycler to create new fabrics and products such as insulation for cars and the construction industry.
Retailer Sheridan also accepts pre-loved sheets and towels (any brand) at their stores.
Donate to animal shelters and vet clinics
Many animal shelters and vets appreciate the donation of used bedding, blankets and towels. (Note that many don’t accept pillows or doonas for health and safety reasons.)
Remember: Every single kilogram of textiles that you save from landfill by passing on for reuse, repurposing or recycling prevents 3-4 kg of greenhouse gas emissions from polluting our atmosphere.
How to avoid ‘fast fashion’
The best way to avoid sending clothing to landfill is to buy less in the first place.
• If you have a special occasion coming up, rent something instead.
• Make your clothes last longer by looking after them properly – read the care labels!
• Declutter and donate – when we have too many clothes, it’s hard to decide or even find what to wear. By owning fewer clothes you’ll wear what you have, more often.
• Before you buy something new – ask ‘will I wear it 30 times?’. If the answer is ‘no’, don’t buy it.
• If you have the space, store away out of season clothing. Then you can rediscover them later and feel like you have something new.
• Swap clothes with friends.
• Mend or upcycle. Bored of an old shirt? Replace the buttons to give it a new look.