Now is the perfect time to embark on that wardrobe detox you’ve been meaning to do. It’s time to clear out all of those questionable outfit pieces, and fashion faux pas you’ve got hanging up in your wardrobe.
Read ahead to get your guide on how to recycle your clothes responsibly – whether that’s clothes you no longer need or want.
When it comes to finding a new home for all of your unwanted clothes, there have never been so many options. Whether you sell your pieces online, donate them to a local charity shop or even take them to a clothes swap, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your old pieces find a new lease of life.
But what about the pieces and outfits that aren’t in a fit state to find a new wardrobe home? We’re talking: damaged-beyond-repair jeans, moth-eaten tops and jumper, and super stained T-shirts that just can’t be cleaned no matter how many times they go through the washing machine.
The UK based charity WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) has estimated that £140 million worth of clothing goes into the landfills each year. £30 billion worth of unused clothing is still sitting in our wardrobes nationwide (WRAP, 2018).
Our ‘fast fashion’ obsession and clothing waste problem is an epidemic that we really can’t ignore anymore if we want to reduce the amount of waste. Campaigners such as environmental activists are urging us all to recycle our old and unwanted clothes, rather than throwing them away.
The shopping ethically diagram below is a great illustration of what we should think about pre-purchase of any clothing:
Over the last decade, clothing has become the fastest expanding stream of waste in the UK. It now represents the fifth-biggest environmental footprint of any industry in the UK.
And don’t forget about the whopping 350,000 tonnes of clothing that goes to landfill each year – which is worth £140 million if they were to be recycled or reused.
The startling numbers speak for themselves, yet many people claim they don’t know where to start when it comes to recycling or reusing unwanted clothing.
With that in mind, exactly how do we recycle our old and unwanted clothes and outfits, and what else do we need to know pre wardrobe detox?
Recycling clothes at H&M :
H&M has been offering a garment recycling service since 2013, with every item donated being recycled, reused or re-worn. The fashion giant collects clothes or textiles in all H&M stores worldwide, and if you drop in a bag of clothes to be recycled, the company will give you a £5 voucher to spend in-store as a thank you.
Speaking to Stylist Magazine, Catarina Midby, H&M UK sustainability manager, said: “We are one of the world’s biggest fashion companies and this comes with both responsibility and opportunity as we have a unique reach and possibility to create change that few others have.
Currently, 26% of all H&M products are made using sustainable materials and our goal is to produce 100% of our products using sustainable materials by 2030.
Recycling clothes at Marks and Spencer :
Since launching their shopping initiative with Oxfam in 2008, Marks and Spencer has received over 20 million items of clothing.
Customers can leave unwanted clothing and soft furnishings in their local store’s ‘Shop Drop’ box, and these are then passed onto Oxfam to be resold, reused or recycled.
In 2017 the British retailer also launched a new sustainability plan, in which it outlined its aim to have at least 25% of M&S clothing and home products made using at least 25% reused or recycled material by 2025.
Recycling clothes at Zara :
Zara began installing collection bins in its stores across Europe in 2016, and currently has containers spread across countries including the UK, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
The clothes left in the containers are donated to charities such as the Red Cross.
Recycling clothes at & Other Stories :
You can swap your unwanted clothes, textiles and beauty packaging in & Other Stories stores for a 10% ‘recycling treat’ voucher – what a great incentive to encourage more recycling!
Now that you know everything (and more) about recycling your unwanted clothes, when will you get those black bin bags out and start your much-needed wardrobe detox? The time is now!