There are probably some clothes sitting in your wardrobe that you need to get rid of. Some of these may have seen better days, perhaps no longer fit, haven’t been worn in the past year or have discoloured over time. It can be tempting to adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality by shoving them to the back of your wardrobe or by simply chucking them in the bin.
However, getting rid of old clothes can be damaging to the environment if it’s not done properly, particularly if they end up in a landfill. So, no matter your reason for wanting to scrap clothes and have a wardrobe clear-out, here are some tips to help you find a more sustainable way of getting rid of your unwanted items.
1. Don’t throw unwanted clothes in the bin
First things first, if you have to get rid of your clothes, don’t throw them in the bin. Discarded clothes sit in landfill, can take years to biodegrade and then contribute to toxic air pollution. There are several options that you can take to avoid the clothes dump, including recycling them – which we will talk about later.
2. Repair rips, buttons and holes
General wear and tear are a given with anything in life, but to ensure that you get the most out of your clothing, try sewing up any holes or reattaching lost buttons. Also, thanks to Vanish Gold Oxi Advance Pink Powder and Vanish Gold Oxi Advance Pink Gel, stains, colour dullness and even bad odours doesn’t have to mean the end of your clothes’ lifecycle. In fact, it’s important to keep them looking great because if we all kept our clothes for just nine months longer than we currently do, we could reduce landfill by over 200 tonnes!
3. Give away clothes to friends and family
It’s not ‘hand-me-downs’, it’s ‘vintage’. Gift your lightly-used items to family or friends so your garment can live for longer. Hopefully, your loved one will get the same amount of joy out of your favourite item as you did.
4. Sell unwanted clothes online
Thanks to the internet, it has never been so easy to shift items that you no longer want. There are loads of ways you can sell your clothes, earn cash and help the environment through social media platforms and second-hand clothing sites.
5. Donate your clothes to those in need
Homeless shelters, animal shelters, hospices and charity shops are always collecting garments like clothes, sheets and blankets. Rather than chucking your item in the bin, take it down to your local charity shop to allow someone else to get even more wear out of it. In fact, it has been estimated that if all the clothing that ends up in landfill had been donated to a charity instead, it would generate over £140 million in additional income each year.
6. Find another use for your clothes
If your item has an unamendable hole and it’s way past saving, repurpose it by turning it into a cleaning rag to use when cleaning the bathroom or the car. This way, you save money on buying new cleaning cloths and you put old clothes to good use, too!
7. Recycle your clothes responsibly
Instead of going down the old clothes disposal route, recycle your used items instead. The best thing about recycling clothing is the clothes can be in any condition – ripped, stained or worse. In fact, recycled clothing can be turned into insulation, padding for chairs or even stuffing for teddy bears!
It’s clear to see that clothing can be versatile, and with many options available to reuse or recycle, your unwanted items should never end up in the bin. From upcycling to donating or selling on, get creative when getting rid of your garments (responsibly, of course!).
Not quite ready to part with your favourite jeans or top? Take a look at our guide to extending the lifespan of your clothes so you can keep loving your garments for longer.