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Home / Sustainable Tips and More / Clothing Recycling - Let’s close the loop
Clothing Recycling - Let’s close the loop

Clothing Recycling - Let’s close the loop

There are so many options for recycling clothes: most of us are familiar with donating gently used items, repurposing old clothes into dust rags, upcycling your items into new wears, or giving your friend, who’s kid is two years younger than yours, kids clothing you no longer need and desperately want out of your house.

But what about those old hole-y socks, tattered undies, and stained t-shirts? We want to close the loop and send them to be recycled into a useful product that gives it a new life, and keeps it out of the landfill.

Did you know 95% of textiles aka clothing can be recycled into something else? We’re not gonna lie, we were surprised too. We thought all you could do with those hole-y socks was toss them in the garbage.  

What is closing the loop?

It’s rethinking how we dispose of items that are no longer usable as-is. Instead of a line from start to finish - new to trash - we need to create loops that take the things we buy from new to used, to unusable to new (and different!).

Basic Revolution goal is to close the loop when it comes to your hole-y unmentionables.

Every Basic Revolution order includes clothing recycling. You order sustainably made socks, then send your clothing items that are hole-y, torn, or too worn out to wear to be recycled. Here’s a picture of our revolution, for all you visual types!

Closing the loop reduces the amount of textiles waste heading to our landfills and uses those old, hole-y clothes for other purposes. 

What happens to clothes that aren’t recycled?

Millions of tons of clothing end up in landfills or incinerated every year in the US and around the world. Even if you don’t put it in the trash to start with.

Many think donating clothing is the solution but the amount of clothing flooding donations and secondhand stores since the arrival of fast fashion is staggering. They can’t keep up with the pace to sort and sell, and neither can the market for secondhand clothing. Much of it is too low quality to resell in the US, so it gets shipped overseas for resale, sold in bulk to textiles recyclers, or ends up in a landfill.

A few more facts about textile recycling for you.

  • As a nation, we created 16 million tons of textile waste in 2015. That is a 275% increase from 5.8 million tons of textile waste generated in 1990
  • Only about 15% of the stuff we wear makes it to another human to use or is recycled
  • Most textile waste comes from post-consumer goods (aka the stuff we wear)

Clearly we need to rethink how we consume clothing too - that’s our next blog. 

What do your recycled clothes get turned into?

Larger items such as t-shirts can be turned into wipe rags for industrial purposes; jeans can be turned into insulation; and fiber blends can be broken down and remanufactured into insulation, stuffing for automotive seats, carpet padding, etc.

As a society we need to create a more circular economy (loop) to reduce the impact on our environment. 

Start your own loop with clothing recycling.