Why it’s best to NEVER throw away your garments (and tips on how to recycle them!)


In our wardrobes, 68% of our clothes would not be worn. This can be explained here as well by colonies of uncomfortable clothes, not to your size or which do not fit in with your favorite style as by the presence of worn or damaged parts (distorted t-shirt, worn pants , socks with holes, etc.) that you no longer dare to wear. We may then want to be tempted by a big sorting, but what to do with all the parts that are still in good condition or worn to the limit? If you are unable to wear or repair these clothes or shoes, the worst thing you can do is throw them away! Find out why the trash can is the worst destination for your unused wardrobe and alternative solutions.

Throwing away your clothes: why is it such a bad idea?

Some figures that speak volumes:
Almost 700,000 tonnes of clothes are bought per year in France, i.e. 30 kilos per inhabitant each year
– Less than a quarter are ultimately recycled
-Unworn purchases represent an average of 114 euros in our cupboards.
-Between 10,000 and 20,000 tonnes of textile products end up thrown away each year in France
85% clothes end up in the trash
-Each year, on average, a French person throws away 12 kg of clothes, shoes and linens

overconsumption clothing
Credit: iStock

Behind these colossal figures hides an often hidden reality: after the oil industry, the fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world. In addition to the environmental cost, there are disastrous social consequences. Always more boosted by our consumerism and the attractiveness of fast-fashion, this sector is also constantly growing. And if you don’t stop buying clothes, you can learn to live with this reality by adopting good daily actions.

However, among these good gestures, there is in particular the fact of not throwing away your clothes! If this habit is to be avoided, it is because all used textiles are recyclable and can therefore lead a second life. If you throw your clothes in the household garbage, they will instead become polluting waste. They will end up in the landfill (put underground). Still, all of these clothes are useful and can even make money! You still have to know what to do with it!

What to do with clothes that you no longer want?

1) Put the clothes in a container instead of throwing them away

container to throw away recycle clothes linens
Credit: iStock

Have you ever seen recycling stations on the street? These containers are used to collect clothes, linens and accessories. They are then sorted and donated to associations if they are still in good condition. Another part of the collected parts can also be exported abroad (Africa or Eastern Europe). Finally, the rest ends up in recycling centers. You should know that the clothes are not not necessarily recycled to make other clothes. They can also be used to make sound or thermal insulation panels, wiping cloths used in industry or even tennis courts (with recycled sneakers).

To do this, lace your shoes in pairs and ideally separately from the textiles. Place everything in bags of up to 50 liters to be placed in said containers. You can find a container near you right here.

2) Sell these clothes

clothes and shoes
Credit: iStock

Clothing purchased in second hand are on the rise as are resale sites that facilitate this type of transaction. You can as well offer your clothes still in good condition as your worn or damaged clothes which can attract young designers with an artistic project in mind or collectors of vintage pieces. You can decide to do the resale yourself on platforms like eBay, Le Bon Coin, Vestiaire Collective, Price Minister, Depop, Vinted, Vide Dressing, etc. Otherwise, you can go through a third party by turning to a thrift store or consignment. Last idea: a barter party to exchange business and renew your wardrobe without spending anything.

3) Give away your clothes instead of throwing them away

donate clothes instead of throwing them away
Credit: iStock

Few people think of donating their clothes to those in need. And yet, whatever is lying around in the back of the closet can find its use in the right hands. Emmaüs, Croix-Rouges, Secours Populaire, Tissons la Solidarité, Ressourceries, La cravate solidaire (for professional clothing), etc. Many organizations and recycling centers near you could benefit from your donations.

Bring clothes back to life instead of throwing them away

recycle clothes instead of throwing them away
Credit: iStock

A patch to hide the holes, lace to hide a stain, a natural dye to recolor a tablecloth, etc. If you have the creative flair, you will be able to repair or transform an old garment. Textiles can also be used for artistic projects! In short, with a little resourcefulness and a taste for DIY, you can divert your sheets, curtains, linens and clothes in an amazing way.

For example, they can be used to:
-Reinvent the gift wrap to replace the paper that makes waste (it’s called Furoshiki!)
–Make an eco-friendly tawashi sponge
-Make hats and gloves with sweaters
– Make dresses for the dolls with socks or make clothes for the teddy bears
-Improvise hair ties with pantyhose wrapped around themselves
-Start making bags and pockets in ultra strong jeans
-And even just make rags for cleaning and shine the shoes!

Give to artists

textile waste, cut pieces of fabric
Credit: iStock

The fashion students or in art are often takers of fabric scraps to carry out their projects. Moreover, luxury houses often donate it to them. An ad on social networks, the Geev app or even a direct address to fashion schools could allow you to send them these textiles.

Of course, recycling used textiles is very important to the planet. However, it does not replace good daily consumption habits. This implies giving priority to second-hand goods, taking care of your belongings (repairs, cleaning, etc.), but also thinking carefully before making any purchase. Simply asking yourself if you really need it and postponing the purchase to see if you still feel like it after several days after the crush will be enough to limit unnecessary impulse buying!

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