Recycling old clothes

What to do With Your Old Clothes

Did you know that Australians buy an average of 27kg of new textiles each year and then discard around 23kgOverall Australians send about 85% of the textiles we buy to landfill each year, two-thirds of which are synthetic fibres that may never break down. 

The technology to turn existing textiles into reusable raw materials is not advanced enough yet (especially when it comes to the synthetic fibres used to create activewear), with less than 1% of textiles recycled back to usable material. 

Designing differently is an important start, which is why we at Movemetica support the brands that are taking action in this space.  We need brands to design clothes that not only last longer but also use materials that are circular-economy ready and are dissembled easily.

We also know that sometimes you’ll grow out of or get sick of your existing clothing, so here are some more sustainable ways to give your clothes a second life. 

Donating 

You may think that donating your old clothes to charity is the easiest and most sustainable thing you can do, but unfortunately, op shops are incredibly overwhelmed with the number of donations they receive. 

If something is dirty or broken, or you wouldn’t consider buying it yourself, it’s best not to throw it in a charity bin and forget about it. Charities in Australia spend around $18 million each year disposing of unusable donations, valuable money that could help with more critical charity projects. 

To put things in perspective:

  • 15% of donations are sold again locally.

  • 15% are turned into industrial rags.

  • Around 25% goes directly to landfill.

  • And the remaining 40-50% is sent overseas.

Sending our unwanted clothes overseas to hide the problem from ourselves is not the right solution as these countries do not need the number of clothes we are discarding. Much of the donations end up burned or buried in these developing countries, and the cheap resale of second-hand clothes also destroys local textile industries and takes away jobs. 

Selling

The best way to ensure that your clothing goes to a good home is by reselling your items. 

Online

In addition to places like Gumtree, eBay, and Facebook marketplace, online second-hand fashion marketplaces have been rising in popularity.

Depop has over 20 million registered users in 147 countries and allows you to upload, chat with potential buyers, and receive payment all through their easy-to-use app. 

100% Australian owned and operated Yordrobe is another great option with the opportunity to sell, shop, swap, and drop your clothing. Their ‘drop’ feature allows you to send your clothing to them and let them take care of pricing, taking photos of, listing, and posting your items to sellers. It is a free to use feature, but they will deduct a 50% commission once your items sell. 

Offline

Selling your clothes in person is also an option with local markets and Suitcase Rummages running around the country. 

local market

If you have clothing from sustainable, local, and handmade brands that are in excellent condition, be sure to visit SWOP. Located in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, SWOP will resell eligible goods on your behalf and offer you 25% of their resale value to you in cash, or 50% as store credit. 

Get Creative 

Now you may be wondering what to do with those dirty and broken clothes we mentioned earlier. 

It’s time to get creative!

There are so many DIY tutorials for repurposing clothing with a basic sewing kit. Try turning an old shirt into a tote bag or scarf. 

You can also cut up old textiles to use as cleaning rags or blankets and toys for your pets. This saves you from going out and buying something new.

woman sewing

Our Recycling Initiative 

And now for some exciting news. 

Movemetica is so excited to be partnering with MANRAGS to help you recycle your activewear and help us close the circular-economy loop. 

MANRAGS is a clothing recycling initiative that allows you to send a 10kg box of clothing, linen, and shoes to be reused, repurposed, or recycled. 

Every kilogram you send to them will prevent 3 to 4kg of greenhouse gasses from entering our atmosphere. 

The process is simple:

  1. Register for collection. Collection costs $25 but will be given back to you in the form of a Movemetica voucher. 

  2. Clean and pack up your items. MANRAGS accepts clothing items, hats, bags, socks and stockings, pairs of shoes, linen, fabric mattress protectors, fabric off-cuts and sewing scraps, fabric couch covers, and curtains.

  3. Book a time for your completely sealed package to be collected. 

  4. Print and attach a label to your package and await pickup from a courier at your front door. 


MANRAGS then sorts through your donation. Items in good condition are sent to their charity partners to be reused. MANRAGS’ recycling partners will repurpose items in older condition, and damaged items will be used to create new materials or be shredded for use as insulation or stuffing for pet beds. 

recycle clothes

Register for your MANRAGS collection now and browse our range of products to see what you can spend your $25 voucher on. 

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- About the author -

Amber Hall

"Amber is a writer who is passionate about leading a more sustainable life and helping others to do the same. She loves reading, watching movies, and travelling. On the weekend you’ll find her checking out the latest vegan restaurants and cafes."

 


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