When I’m working with clients to downsize their belongings, the subject of how to recycle fabrics almost always comes up. Most clients want their unwanted things to go to a good home. There are always instances when we do have to trash items that are broken and can’t be recycled. Then the subject of what can be recycled comes up. Most are surprised when they learn that fabrics can be recycled, not in their curbside pickup bins, but in other places.
According to the EPA’s 2017 Data tables on Advancing Sustainable Materials Management, in 2017, 16,890 tons of textiles were generated—only 2,570 tons were recycled, and 11,150 tons were landfilled. Those are some staggering numbers and a wake-up call that we are not doing what we should to be good stewards of the earth.
As we sort through clothes, towels, linens, and other fabric related items, we discuss the options to recycle fabrics. For the fabric related items that are stained, ripped or otherwise not deemed worthy for donation to sell, they go into a separate bag for recycling. The end goal is to keep as much as possible out of our landfills.
Donation is the best way to recycle unwanted items. However, charities do receive items that are not in good enough shape to donate. As you probably know, these charities typically have a thrift store to sell donated items for much needed funds to continue their good work.
When most thrift stores that accept donations receive fabric related items that are not in good condition and can’t be resold, they send them to a local facility to recycle fabrics. If you’re curious about the process to recycle fabrics, here is an interesting article on the process of fabric recycling.
While it may be easier to put all of your unwanted clothing, towels and linens into the donation pile, no matter what condition they’re in, it would really help the donation facility to take unsellable items to a facility to recycle fabrics.
There are various places that accept unwanted fabric items not worthy for resale. It may take a little more effort, in terms of another stop to make, but it helps so many others in the process.
Below is a list of these places, either drop off bins or places of business, in and around the St. Louis area. I encourage you to check it out to find one that is close to you to recycle fabrics that are not thrift-worthy.
- The Clothes Bin – Strategically located in the parking lots of convenience stores, gas stations, shopping centers or wherever people congregate, these bright green bins are destined to become the go-to for anyone looking for a convenient way to recycle their clothes, shoes and textiles.
- Remains, Inc. – We opened our doors for business in 1981. Our recycling business has expanded to accept a wide variety of used clothing and post-industrial textiles to be reused or repurposed into usable materials for an increasing customer base.
- University City Recycling Drop-off Area: 975 Pennsylvania (parking lot) 63130; 314-505-8560
- USAgain – Fabric recycling collection bins.