Think that a bag of clothes can’t go very far? Think again; there are many different types of fabrics, and just as many different recycling and reuse options per item. From cotton to polyester and everything in between, below are common fabrics and what to do to recycle or reuse them.
Defining animal fabrics
Wool and silk clothes share one thing in common, along with their shrinking and tightening factors: the many varieties and bulk of use beg for some recycling options. Wool can be common hair from a goat or sheep, or as outlandish as hair or fur made from alpaca wool. Then there is the more expensive cashmere, hair from the Indian cashmere goat, known for its luxurious softness. Reusing wool or silk requires little more than creativity. Though there is no mass way to recycle these fabrics, reusing them is so common that there are many resources readily available. From pillowcases to vests, sites like fabrics.net give great suggestions for fun projects. Cashmere has such high value that eBay or Craigslist might garner some extra cash for the items.
Identifying the most popular plant fabric
The most common plant fabric is cotton, and yes, maybe those “Cotton, the Fabric of Our Lives” commercials continue to help that. But, the most likely reason for its continued popularity is price — it’s generally cheaper than any other type of fabric. Cotton is so easy to reuse that listings for the stuff can be found on several sites, including recycle.net. Browse from hundreds of people wanting those old cotton T-shirts, socks and more.
Donating used clothes in bulk is a quick option as well. Find places accepting clothing right here on 1-800-RECYCLING.com.
Examining what is in synthetic fabrics
Nylon and polyester are popular materials in any type of clothing that can use shine or stretch. Some might blame Britney Spears for the mass return of these options, but unfortunately, all synthetic fibers are manufactured using chemicals that can pollute and are not biodegradable. These water-resistant materials can thank compounds such as sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide for their durability. The only offsetting value of these clothes is that they tend to last a long, long time. There are many reuse options; no matter what the fabric of the clothing, there are several groups that will appreciate the donation of these items. Churches, charitable organizations such as Goodwill, consignment shops and friends — the possibilities are endless. Remember, your hand-me-downs are free to the receiver — and that is usually a welcomed gift.