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How to be more sustainable by selling, donating and recycling your old clothes

COVID-19 has given us more time to be home and for many of us, this means tidying up! For people who have had a comfortable life, the wardrobe they see now could be a surprise, even to them. It’s in our nature to buy clothes and forget about them after a couple of uses. That’s what the show “tidying up with Marie Kondo” is about if you have been binge-watching Netflix. There will be plenty around an average home that doesn’t fit in anymore. It’s time that you get down on your knees and start sorting.

The waste that the fashion and textile industry generates can easily match shoulders with the oil, the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emission and climate change. Today, going green with fashion is even more relevant and each one of us should be making efforts towards reducing our personal impact on the environment. There is so much you can do with old clothes instead of throwing them into the trash. With the total population of the UK combined, it would be £140 million of unused clothing that finds its way into landfills every year. Here are your alternative options:

Selling of used clothes

Throwing out stuff is actually throwing out money! The dress that you have become bored of might actually be a new thing for someone else, someone less fortunate. Depending on the condition of your clothes, you might actually even get some payment for it. There are several fashion brands, big and small that buy and sell goods on consignment. With your used clothes, they will give them a wash and also find the customers for it. They could be charity organizations working for the homeless or just regular people looking for cheaper but branded clothes. You are just doing the work of calling up the people and getting paid for it. Alternatively, if you aren’t able to find someone, there’s always Facebook and Instagram. Lastly, don’t be too greedy because you were throwing them off in the first place. Whether you give them off for free or make some money out of it as a bonus. There are always smiles that you can count upon!

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Adding on to the above point, the good thing about donating is that you can give them off in any condition. There is a high chance that the worst-kept clothes, with stains and cuts that cannot be stitched back, will probably be dumped but read out the last section here for them. Donation centers are just about everywhere and some even offer pickup facility from your doorstep. In the UK, TRAID, Salvation Army, and OXFAM are quite popular but there are several other groups you will come across. Try Googling or even search on Facebook. It won’t take a lot of your time and anyway, you are stuck in your homes!


Now, this is where you can get a bit creative and come out with something new with clothes that were of no use to you. There are several DIY activities that will keep you busy during these days of being locked in your homes due to COVID-19. Again, if you are trying to do something creative with old clothes, there are so many options that are just a few clicks away. You can make quits, throw pillows, ruffley rugs, coin purses, tote bags, draft stoppers, hats, bags, scarves, and much more! This also ensures that you learn something new out of this lockdown and also have something inspiring to post on Instagram!

Other than that, there would be recycling centers across any areas that try to give a new life to your old clothes. Recycling clothes is actually more difficult than recycling plastic but they will ensure that some of your belongings actually get a new life and are worn by someone. Recycling and up-cycling actually delay the time it takes for the textiles to be a part of a landfill. It is all about stretching the lifetime of a product and trying to reduce the burden on nature to do the composting.

Now that you know how much waste you actually generate, it will also be the time to rethink your shopping cart. The lesson to be learned here is to reduce your need for buying new clothes until the ones you already have, are used as much as they could have been. When we reduce our consumption in the first place, will the demand for the product line reduce? If there is a lesson to be learned from the worldwide lockdown, it is to change our old ways and be more sustainable in our choices. Be more responsible!

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-04-23

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