During this crazy time, we talked a lot about how we could all live a little better, more frugally and greener. We are very excited to see more people adopting more sustainable habits during this time, such as dedicating themselves to savings (welcome beginners!). So far, we’ve covered a lot of reasons to update and cycle your fully wear clothes and making them feel like new (all ways of coloring, sustainable summer tips, clothing care tips, and style challenges to name a few). But recently, many savers have asked us, “This is great and all, but what do I do with dirty or damaged clothing?”

Use as cleaning wipes:


Cleaning with paper towels can be a waste, and why buy cleaning cloths if you have a lot of clean fabrics? Clean up the next spill by wearing your (very) old t-shirt instead. Excessively worn clothes or with stubborn stains make perfectly absorbent cleaning cloths. Clean dirt, throw it in the laundry room, and save it for the next cleaning day.

Start a DIY project:

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If the clothes are too damaged to give up or resell, give them another life as a cool DIY project. Here are a few (out of thousands!) Easy recycling solutions for your old clothes: – A popular sweatshirt is as framed on your wall as it is on you. – Make some of the harder to wear patterned shirts for a patchwork quilt. – Use a favorite patterned top or bottom as stains on an item you use often. Learn how to make a leaf patch with our DIY tutorial with Zero Waste Daniel. – Cut out old fabrics and turn them into beautiful elastics.

Recycle your clothes


Yes, most clothes can be recycled (including underwear). But it is our responsibility to investigate the destination of recycled clothing. According to the EPA, 95% of textiles can be recycled, but only 15% of unwanted clothing is actually recycled (!!). So make sure you know where you are sending your clothes. Although there is no conveniently located recycling box around every corner, you can search for recycling resources in your area or consult these sustainable organizations that take your stuff. Check out these great recycling programs and find one near you:


From collecting plastic bags to recycled clothing, Teracycle offers a variety of recycling programs. The idea is: you buy the program, they send you a box, you fill it with stuff, you send it to Teracycle to reuse, reuse or reuse. It’s not really for individual use, but a great resource for your business or community to come together to avoid waste.

American Textile Recycling Service

Like Teracycle, ATRS offers businesses and communities delivery recycling services, but can also ship your clothes (even if they can’t be used TOO MUCH). About 20% is used for upholstery and upholstery of cars, and 30% is used for industrial cleaning wipes.

Good Recycles:

Did You Know? Bras are worn on average 6 to 9 months before being discarded. Support women in need and send your little worn bras to a new home. All you have to do is wash your bras and pack them in any box, print a paid shipping label and ship them.

Green Tree –

Based in New York City, you may have seen Green Tree’s shiny recycling bins at your local farmers market. They take your old clothes and put them in the hands of people in need, and textiles that can no longer be used are available as fibers and cloths for the manufacturers.

SMART Association –

Our resource for next-generation textile recyclers, SMART (Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles) is an international trade association whose members use and convert recycled and secondary materials from used clothing. While your membership directory is not widely available, keep an eye on SMART-approved containers in your neighborhood (and learn more about). Your local thrift and charity stores probably have one!

Brand exchange programs


Many of our favorite brands have shopping programs that give you a great incentive to keep your overly worn things out of the dump. When it comes to supporting the circular economy, these brands are doing well.

The North Face:

Their Clothes the Loop program allows you to drop off any brand of clothing and footwear in their stores in exchange for a $ 10 credit for a purchase of $ 100 or more from The North Face. The clothes are sent to her nonprofit partner, Soles4Souls, to create sustainable jobs and provide relief.


In addition to offering used Patagonia clothing, our favorite brand of planet-loving adventurers also allows you to ship any Patagonia equipment, and they will reuse and reuse it responsibly. You do not get credit, but you get the satisfaction of knowing that your things do not end up in landfill or incinerated. Take a look at their recycled Recrafted collection!


Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program has been around since 1993, and to date they have recycled over 32 million pairs of shoes! Your uncomfortable old Nike is shredded in Nike Grind materials used to transform areas of society, from basketball courts and playing fields to running tracks and more. Find participating companies and submit your tips.


The fast-paced fashion giant may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about sustainability, but their clothing collection program is the perfect stop for all your worn-out looks. Drop boxes can be found in all H&M stores. Your clothes are resold, recycled as cleaning clothes or material for a new collection or recycled as insulation material by the H&M partner, I: CO.


Zara’s program sends your useless clothes to non-profit organizations that manage the clothes and develop community-based projects. The clothes are recycled, donated, made in new fabric or sold for the benefit of social projects. This initiative is not yet available worldwide, so check out their website to see if there is a place near you.


Our favorite jeans are also the most polluting product to produce. Levi’s partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green ™, an initiative focusing on recycled denim, ensures that every pair reaches its full potential. Deliver your denim to any Levi’s store and recycle it as building insulation, community-driven projects and more. Bonus, you get a 20% discount on your next pair of blues.


Another partner of Blue Jeans Go Green ™, Madewell will recycle its heavily torn jeans from any brand for home insulation to communities in need. In return, you get a $ 20 discount on new ones! Bring them to any store to get started.

Girlfriend Collective:

Submit your old Girlfriend compression pants so they can create new ones. Our favorite girls’ sportswear brand makes new things with old things … with old things. Help maintain your flyer and you will receive $ 15 for a future purchase.

How to Shop for Men’s Clothing – An Ultimate Guide For Woman

Donate to your local animal shelter

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In animal shelters, there is a need for soft and comfortable textiles. If your favorite sweater is sitting on her last leg, consider giving it to a puppy or kitten in need! Shelters can turn leftover fabric into cat bedding, an attractive settlement toy made from old t-shirts and, of course, cleaning cloths. Towels and washcloths are also good for puppies.

Compost them (Yes, compost!)

This only applies to a small part of the clothes, as many clothes have undergone chemical treatments, but it may be possible! Clothes made exclusively from natural fibers (wool, silk, linen, cotton) will compost, but it takes a long time. Cut them to speed up the process. Some garments can be advertised as 100% cotton (like t-shirts and jeans), but may still contain a polyester blend for the extra stretch. You can select the polyester pieces after composting or skip the composting. For more information, see these helpful guidelines for composting clothing

Donate responsibly 

“Too worn to wear” is subjective, but in general we should only donate clothes that we are willing to give to a friend or family member. Donations should not be a way to ease the blame for getting rid of things you can no longer use. That, and only 20% of donated clothing ends up going back on the shelves! If you are considering donating to community, donate your clothes to charity through our donation program. We recycle or reuse things that are not sold.

Bonus: save more, buy less!

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In the end, the less NEW things we bring to the world, the better. Disposable fashion is a problem that needs to be solved at source. If we were all to recycle more, we should also consume less. Let us maximize the life of all garments in our closets and beyond.

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