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How do you throw away clothes?

13 Sep 2022

How do you throw away clothes?

Spoiler alert: you don’t.

You’ve finally cleared out your wardrobe and you’ve got a pile of clothes needing a new home. What do you do with them?

What happens when I give my clothes to someone else?

Providing they want them and they fit, this is a great option to ensure your clothes find the love they deserve. Pass your clothes on through clothes swaps (honestly, just search for these online and you’ll find loads advertised locally on Facebook or Eventbrite), giving to a friend or selling on a peer to peer platform like Ebay.

What happens to clothes I throw away in the general waste bin?

They’ll be collected by your council and taken to your local waste sorting centre. These clothes will, more likely than not, end up in landfill where they could remain for thousands of years and contribute to toxic air pollution. Nasty.

What happens to clothes I throw away in my recycling bin at home?

It is very rare that doorstep recycling collections accept clothing. In fact, we’re not sure this is an option anywhere in the UK. If your council uses clear bags, they may refuse to take your recycling away and will leave a note informing you of what you can and can’t recycle in your local area. If they do take it away, it is likely that it will end up in the general waste and consequently landfill. It may also lead to other recyclables being sent to landfill as your clothes will have “contaminated” the recycling. Don’t be a wishcycler and check what your local council accepts.

What happens to clothes I donate to the charity shop?

The answer differs from shop to shop. Good quality, clean clothes will hopefully be resold in their store, their website, or on their storefront on platforms like Ebay. Unfortunately, a lot of clothing that is donated isn’t in good enough condition for resale, and many items are in good condition but aren’t of good enough quality . Some charity shops have relationships with recycling facilities but it is a lottery on what happens next. Anecdotally, we heard of a charity shop in London that worked with another charity to turn into blankets for rescue dogs. At the end of the day, as a customer, it's hard to know what happens to clothes that are stained, poor quality, or in bad condition when donated to a charity shop.

Charity shops are often stretched with limited time and resources, especially with their staff usually being made up with volunteers. If you want to help a charity shop out, donate your good stuff that you know has a chance of being rehomed.

What happens to clothes I put in a textile waste recycling bin?

You often find these bins at supermarket car parks and local estates. The Recycle Now site can signpost you to your local spot. Different bins are run by different businesses which means what happens next differs from location to location. We can’t speak for others, but if they make their way to LMB Textiles (our sister business) we will sort everything by hand and responsibly recycle your clothes into new items through chemical or mechanical recycling. We never send anything to landfill.

What happens to clothes I send into the takeback scheme?

When you send your clothes back to Reskinned instead of throwing them away, we will sort them by hand and do our best to rehome them. Anything that needs repairs will be fixed in house. If items are truly end of life, we will responsibly recycle them through LMB Textiles. We won’t pretend we aren’t biassed but we really do think takeback schemes are a responsible way to ensure your clothes don’t end up in landfill.

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