Good, Better, Best — Reducing Textile Waste

Good, Better, Best — Reducing Textile Waste

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.

This is the fourth in a series of articles offering choices for lowering the quantity of the most typical supplies in family waste.

Fabric looks as if an oddly particular merchandise to make the record of prime waste classes. But textiles are the sixth most typical materials within the rubbish.

Textile waste is a reasonably new drawback. Historically, materials have been costly, labor-intensive supplies that may be reused till there was nearly nothing left to throw away, and even rags could be recycled into new cloth or paper. Modern textile recycling is far much less thorough.

Today, textiles comprise 6.3% of municipal solid waste. We’ve rounded up some good, higher, and finest choices for lowering the textiles your family throws away.

Textile Waste

After paper, meals, plastic, yard waste, and steel, textiles make up the most important element of family waste. Most textile waste is discarded clothes. But furnishings, carpets, bedding, and even footwear and tires contribute to the entire. The EPA estimates that textile waste technology was 16.9 million tons in 2017. Only 2.6 million tons of textiles (about 15%) have been recycled that 12 months.

Textile waste has elevated 811% since 1960, and that is a minimum of partly the results of the rise of fast fashion. One research discovered that the variety of occasions a bit of clothes is worn earlier than being discarded has decreased 36% prior to now 15 years.


A very good time to start out slicing down on textile waste is earlier than you store. Precycle by being extra selective together with your clothes purchases and solely shopping for what you’ll really put on. Buy the highest quality you’ll be able to afford and select secondhand when potential.

Learn care to your garments and do primary repairs so your garments last more. Don’t assume that simply since you not need an merchandise of clothes nobody else will. You could possibly resell costly and trendy objects, however even older and considerably worn objects may be donated to charity. To paraphrase a cliché, one individual’s previous trash is one other’s classic treasure. Help others scale back their textile waste by organizing a clothing swap.


Items which might be too worn or broken to donate should still include sufficient good cloth to repurpose, and the potential upcycling uses of T-shirts and denim are myriad. However, it’s possible you’ll not have a necessity for (or time to make) recycled merchandise from worn-out items of clothes and cloth scraps. If you’re not a crafter, T-shirts (along with previous sheets and towels) are good candidates to be used as cleansing rags. This may also reduce down on paper waste.

Curbside textile recycling is uncommon, however there are locations that settle for textiles for recycling. Download the iRecycle app or search the Earth911 recycling database in your laptop to search out out if there’s a textile recycler close to you.

Closing the loop with renewed and recycled clothes may be dearer than mall manufacturers, however are a more sensible choice when you’ll be able to’t discover what you want secondhand.


Once you’ve stopped including used clothes to the landfill, flip your consideration to household furniture, carpets, mattresses, and different much less apparent sources of textile waste. As with garments, contemplate whether or not the lifetime of an merchandise may be prolonged by means of deep cleansing or reupholstery earlier than eliminating it. (If you reupholster furnishings, make sure to recycle the previous cloth.)

When you not need usable objects, donate them slightly than disposing of them. Use the Earth911 database to search for recycling choices for unusable objects. If disposal is your solely choice, study to disassemble objects with the intention to recycle the elements, together with upholstery cloth.

Shoes are one other difficult product as a result of they include a mixture of textiles, plastic, and leather-based. Wear your sneakers as long as possible, then discover out the place to recycle tennis shoes. When you purchase new sneakers, hunt down these made with recycled materials.

Often, the best option to cope with cumbersome objects like furnishings and mattresses is thru producer responsibility applications. As with clothes, purchase much less, purchase much less usually, and when you have to purchase, get secondhand or recycled merchandise. When buying new, search for carpet suppliers and mattress brands that provide take-back applications.

If you might be actually severe about preserving textiles out of the landfill, it’s potential to attain zero textile waste.

Feature picture by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash. This put up was initially revealed on April 27, 2020.