There’s nothing like having a good clear-out. After months on end of isolation (and more to come for some), it feels like there’s never been a better time to do it. But while it’s easy to shove your unwanted items in the bin, it’s harmful to our environment. Just under 336,000 tonnes of clothing worth a staggering £140million are binned in the UK every year according to WRAP, and with the sudden rise in fast-fashion queries on Google in 2020, this is only set to increase.
Fortunately, there are many easy ways to recycle your old clothes – even if they’re worn, torn or just not your style anymore. Who knows, maybe you’ll even make some money out of it? Read on for our top tips.
Made do and mend
The first thing you should try and do if a garment becomes worn is to fix it. There are plenty of YouTube videos teaching you how to fix holes, sew on buttons or even repair a fallen hem, but if you’re short on time you can always take your clothes to a local seamstress. Most dry cleaners offer repairs and even alterations, so if you’ve lost weight or simply want to change a garment, you don’t need to say goodbye to your clothes.
The simplest way to clear your wardrobe out is to drop off your unwanted clothes to local charity shops. While you may not be able to hit the shops due to local lockdowns, there are plenty of charities that offer collection services too, such as Traid and iCollectClothes, who work with a variety of charities.
Recycle at clothing banks
If your clothes can’t be donated, sold or repaired, you can recycle at local clothing banks. The Salvation Army have banks across the country, while local councils often collect clothes and textiles to be recycled. Simply check online to find recycling locations, drop off your unwanted garments and go.
Rent them out
The UK clothing rental market is predicted to be worth £2.3 billion by 2029 and with more clothing rental apps than ever before, it’s never been easier to monetise your wardrobe. Simply list your items online with rental companies such as By Rotation, Hurr and My Wardrobe HQ and you’ll be able to make money from those clothes, bags and shoes collecting dust in your wardrobe. Read more about how to make money from renting out your clothes here.
Hold a clothes swap
While Government guidelines may not allow it at the moment, you could drum up interest in holding a clothes swap or better yet, do it virtually. Round up your friends in a Whatsapp group, photograph the items you no longer want and see who’s interested. Even if you don’t go away with as many items as you’ve given away, you’ll know your unwanted dress has gone to a good home.
Sell them online
There are countless re-selling websites, such as eBay, depop, vinted and even Facebook marketplace. Collect the items you no longer want, photograph them on your phone and simply upload the pictures online. Before you know it, you’ll have cleared out your wardrobe and made a few extra quid too.
Make something new
You can easily find different uses for your old clothes. Why not make a reusable face mask out of an old blouse, or chop off the legs of your torn jeans to make shorts? Hit up YouTube for thousands of upcycling tutorials and the world’s your oyster. If that’s too difficult, you can even turn your old tees into dust cloths.
READ MORE: Can H&M’s Conscious collection ever really be sustainable?
READ MORE: Pretty Little Thing are selling clothes for 4p in their Black Friday sale – but how much do they pay garment workers?