As a consequence of fast fashion, people in developed countries buy more and more new clothes. Surveys have shown that people buy around 60% more clothing items every year. This means that the textile waste is increasing year by year – and so does the pollution produced by it.
Clothes are hardly recycled, thus making textile industry the second-largest pollution source in the world. But how does unrecycling textiles cause pollution and how can we recycle old clothing?
The Importance of Recycling Textiles
The majority of people throw their old clothing into garbage bins, which are then taken to the landfill.
However, very few are aware that synthetic textiles, such as polyester and nylon, can take up to 200 years to decompose. Moreover, synthetic fibers release harmful gases for our planet – such as CO2 or methane – and toxic substances into the soil and groundwater. Therefore, by recycling old clothing we protect our planet from pollution and contribute to fighting against the causes of climate change and global warming.
Solution: Recycle Old Clothing!
If you want to do your part, you can recycle your old clothing in different ways:
- Resell: unfortunately, we are used to getting bored with our garments very fast. However, they may still be interesting for other people. So, why not try and sell them? Especially since this would make us gain back some of the money we spent on those clothing items;
- Donate: donating your old clothes to people who cannot afford them is another solution. It would be a nice gesture from your part. However, avoid donating damaged clothing or in very bad conditions. Some of the charities that collect them take the unemployable garments to the landfill;
- Give it new life: if your clothes are in such a state that you cannot sell them or donate them, an alternative solution is to give them new life by transforming them into cleaning rags! This is both a sustainable and money-wise advantageous solution;
- Recycle: many organizations collect textiles in order to employ them for other purposes such as pillow, car seat, mattress stuffing. Also, look for recycling bins where you can throw away clothing in any condition. Moreover, there are such stores as H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., The North Face that collect their clients’ clothing items, recycle them, and even give them a reward for it;
- Buy organic and biodegradable garments: if you are up to it and want to get free from the problems caused by the textile industry, just start buying organic and biodegradable clothing.