Clothing waste? Not waste at all - Recycle, Share & Swap

Today is World Environment Day, this year the global theme is Think.Eat.Save, all about how to combat food waste. Keeping on topic, Susta-Style this week is about what to do with your clothing waste, and in fact how it's not waste at all! Over the next 5 weeks Susta-Style will be going on a journey through different elements of what sustainable style means when it comes to fashion. Below is all the themes we are going to cover and today we're kicking off with - Recycle, Share & Swap.

The Susta-Style journey

Recycle, Share & Swap
Care & Cleaning
Repair & Rebirth
Knowledge & Research
Return on Investment

What is 'Recycled' clothing: Anything that has been made from already existing materials, fabrics, metals or fibers. These are often reclaimed from previously made clothing and accessories and reworked into new ones. Fibers can also be re-purposed from pre-existing fabric, re-spun and reused for new garments.*

How you can recycle your clothes:

  • Donate - Giving your old clothes to charities, (known as charitable recycling of post-consumer waste)  is one of the oldest recycling industries in Australia. It's estimated between 80-100 million kilos of textile waste is collected each year through clothing recycling collection bins. 60% consists of items of clothing that can be reworn or reused! and 15% can be torn into industrial wiper cloths.
  • Sell - Instead of throwing your old clothes away, think first if you could sell them. If they are still good quality but you just don't wear them, somebody else might. You could hold a market stall, have a garage sale, use Ebay or sell your clothes on consignment to a second hand clothing shop. In the past two weeks I myself have had a market stall with friends to sell our unused clothes, it was great fun and felt wonderful to see other people walk away with a  great deal and the clothes not be wasted.
    • Share & Swap - Buying new clothes all of the time makes no sense at all when you can have fun with your friends sharing and exchanging. Hosting a clothes swap is a great way to stop clothes being thrown out and ending up in landfill. The 1MW team is hosting its own internal clothes swap, it's something you can do in your own workplace too.
  • Give back - Recently there has been action from larger retailers to implement recycling into their production systems and make avoiding waste central to business ideals. This is companies having an option to return clothes you bought but no longer use to them, and they will re-purpose them. H & M and Patagonia are two big retailers who are doing this. H & M even turn the really damaged clothes that cant be re-purposed into energy. This is an area of recycling which could use more action, and rallying from consumers to ask retailers to embrace this.
  • Did you know?: Australians collectively spend over $12 billion a year on more than a billion fashion items, but discarded clothing makes up 4-5% of waste going into our landfills!

    We can make this a lot more sustainable. See even more sustainable fashion tips here at our website.

    There is a lot you can do with your old clothes instead of just throwing them away. Remember, there is no away!

    *Definition of Recycled fashion from Eco Fashion World

    Want even more information on sustainable style? Check out our series 1MW Guide to Sustainable Fabrics