The decisions we take about the fate of our unwanted clothes are crucial to reduce the overall textile and fashion industry’s environmental impact. WWF recently published a report about the importance of changing fashion to make it more sustainable.
It is important to be aware about the reasons why textile waste is such a large polluter so that you can make more informed decisions. Every action, no matter how small, will certainly make a difference. 87% of all clothing ends up in landfills or is incinerated. That is why we want to provide some tips with easy ways to help reduce the production of waste from the fashion industry.
Here are 10 things you can do instead of throwing clothes away…
Get into contact with your local second-hand or vintage shops, or sell your clothes online. There is a wide choice of places where you can go to sell or to donate your unwanted clothes such as the Facebook Marketplace, or eBay Kleinanzeigen. Vintage stores and second hand shops are valuable spaces where you can find unique elements too, such as Pick&Weight or Humana.
2. Flea markets & events
Pack your unused staff and get a space in your local flea market. There is someone out there who would love to wear your items and is keen to pay the value that you both think they have. Especially when you are fond of your clothes but you cannot find any occasion to wear them anymore (or cannot fit into them anymore!), this is the perfect way to sell and meet their future owner.
3. Take them back to the store
Many brands are following circular economy models by accepting used clothes back from their shops. Find out which fashion companies are already doing that and how they do that.
4. Swap clothes
When you have outfits that do not suit you anymore, swap them with someone else and find something you would need more. And if you are not sure, what better than exchanging them with some friends or family members? Also, make sure to check out clothes swap parties, where you can get rid of your stuff while getting something more interesting for you at the same time.
5. It’s DIY time
Long jeans can become shorts, sweaters become crew-necks, normal jeans can become ripped jeans. You can find a way to re-design and manufacture your clothes which are partially damaged so you can use them for a new purpose.
For example you can find tutorials on online channels or participate in some workshops or get inspired by our friends at Makerist.
When you can fix and keep using something, it makes no sense to buy a new one. There are many ways unless you know how to repair and sew. And that is a skill for life! If you don’t have the time, sewing shops and repair cafes are available in many cities and most of these services are very affordable, just don’t give up!
7. Convert them into art
Give space to your creativity, have you ever thought about making a picture which contains parts of your dresses? Those textiles you would never want to throw away are ready to hang on your wall. Or how about using old fabric scraps to make pieces of jewellery?
8. Recycling facilities or charities
When you are not sure about what is the destiny of your clothes, you can contact companies that collect clothes and are experts in recycling them. But don’t forget to get informed on the real destination of your clothes! Or you can give it your local charity, but make sure to find out what they do with it after. We are partnered with Berliner Stadtmission who concentrate on giving good quality clothing to the homeless. The donations that are not of good enough quality are given to us.
9 Try to compost
Textiles that are made from natural materials such as organic cotton can be returned to the earth. Check out this guide about how to compost your clothes.
10. Donate them to Kleiderly
Which one of these solutions suits the best your needs?
Let’s make it worth it but do not forget the main rule: only buy things when you need them or truly love them!