I come from a frugal family. My youngest sister is 19, but there are still cloth diapers in the rag box in my parent’s basement. I’m sure I need a new pair of running shoes now that the plastic heel of the shoe has been cutting into my skin. For the last 5 months. So, when I say I need to find somewhere to get rid of used clothes, I’m not talking about the Salvation Army.
But, this is always the first answer on the web, if you have used clothes, donate them.
The second layer of response is usually crafting or upcycling. For example, you can turn wool sweaters into felt ornaments for your tree. There are a bajillion tutorials for making a t-shirt quilt. Then, there is this fabulous (but time consuming) t-shirt rug.
And one last link for the jean bottom purse I used to see in teen magazines everywhere.
I have to ask – Did anyone actually use this after making it?
Digging a little deeper on the internet brings up more mundane possible reuses – rags, spit up cloths for babies, and donations to the local animal shelter for bedding for animals.
That first possibility of reuse is predicated on the fact that the item is only mildly worn, and still fashionable, the second believes that it’s out of date, but contains usable parts. A textile junk yard in a way. That third solution begins to get to the heart of the matter. This is an item which is not reusable in any wearable or creative way by even the best DIY maven.
But this year, I finally stumbled on a real answer I’d been hoping for all along. The best part, the solution is in my own town of Salem, MA.
The Salem Textile Recycling Drive, which got 232 people together who donated over 9000 pounds of clothing. Crazy! In fact, the event was so successful that the organizers are looking forward to this being a biannual event. Congratulations Salem Recycles!
They partnered with the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) and Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in order to pull this event off.
SMART is headquartered in Maryland and their facebook page is chock block full of textile recycling ideas. SMART claims to divert 2.5 billion pounds of waste from landfills annually, but this is only about 15 percent of the actual textile waste out there.
After watching the videos on SMART’s website, I was most surprised that you can recycle stuffed animals! Who knew.
North Shore Residents, Don’t throw away your items! Save up them up for biannual events by Salem Recycles, then Recycle Them!