Time to get real with each other – who here throws away their clothes? Raise your hand.

I know you’re not raising your hand because you’re reading this on the train or on the couch with your sig other or you’re otherwise embarrassed. At least admit it in your own mind: you’ve dumped perfectly good clothes in the trash because you just didn’t know what to do with them or were simply done with them or maybe if you’re being really honest you’re lazy.

Sometimes the truth hurts a little, but it’s still the truth. I wouldn’t be saying any of this if it weren’t also true for myself. Part of our privilege includes being willfully ignorant about proper disposal of clothing, including recycling. In the age of google everything, there is no excuse for not knowing what to do.


Isn’t recycling already responsible? Do I really have to worry about this? Yes, yes you do. Most clothes that we currently buy are made from synthetic materials that do not decompose or take an extremely long time to do so. Not to mention the toxic chemicals used for dye, printing, anti-wrinkling, etc. Which means, the giant pile of last season’s clothes that you threw out will be sitting in a landfill somewhere for a really long time, leaking these toxic chemicals into our soil and air and water. Side note: “what?! we are wearing toxic chemicals as clothes?!” Yes. Read all about that here and here. #science

Most local municipalities have centers for recycling specific items such as textiles. A quick google search will provide you with all the information you need. Your items will then be turned into cleaning rags, insulation, or recycled thread for new clothes. How cool is that, right?

If you tend to donate your clothes instead of recycling, I recommend doing some brief research on the organization to which you typically drop off your stuff. You should have seen my face when I pulled up to my local thrift store and saw them dumping bags upon bags of clothes into the dumpster out back. Many donation centers are overrun with all of our trash donations, and due to lack of space and demand, simply throw your stuff away without a second thought. They also will send barges full of our stuff overseas, which creates another set of issues. It is worth checking to see if they need what you’re bringing, instead of just using it as a guilt-free dumpster.

If you’re an extra credit kind of person, I’d like to also extend this challenge to you: 

It’s not enough just to recycle your stuff, and then continue to buy new products made from new things. Why not complete the loop and look for items that are made WITH the stuff you recycled…circle of life Lion King style. Yes, our 90s selves would be so proud!! Brands who use recycled textiles very proudly state so on their websites, and it’s often featured on tags of clothes as well.