Every year millions of pounds of consumer textile waste floods landfills across the globe, not to mention the massive amounts of textiles discarded directly by manufacturers. Here are some effective options with textile recycling:
Companies that accept fabrics for recycle have the ability to create marvelous things with materials that would otherwise be thrown away.
Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART) is a leading international non-profit organization that thrives on clothing donation to be used for so many wonderful causes.
After assessing the items received and piling them into different categories, they take the unusable garments and strip them to the rawest form. In this state they may be respun or employed in different, less structured ways. Clothing as well as plastics have been used to create automotive interiors (using fibers as filling for car seats), furniture (fillings for couch cushions) and mattresses. The fibers can also be respun into yarns and used in a variety of different mediums. On their website, they offer alternative uses for all sorts of materials, and also suggest ways to cut back on your carbon footprint.
Check out their website for more in depth examples and suggestions:
These options, being incredibly interesting and sustainable, unfortunately are less known than the typical "drop-off-at-your-local-thrift-store" mentality of recycling garments. Many consumers harbor the thoughts of "Well, I don't want to wear this t-shirt (or these shoes) anymore, and it is really dirty and worn so why would anyone else want it? I will just throw it away." By educating the consumer about the various recycling opportunities offered, we will be sure to lessen our impact on the earth, and reuse fibers in a sustainable, practical way for everyone to enjoy.