Yes, You CAN Donate & Recycle Old Tattered Clothing!

by heather

old_clothesI just found this out five seconds ago, and had to share it with all of you immediately.

I was checking out one of my favorite blogs, Danny Seo’s Simply Green, and he had a wonderful little article up on his site about donating clothes.

Did you know that you can still donate ripped jeans, and tattered, sweat-stained shirts? Did you know you can still donate things that would never sell, like bell bottoms, old Flock of Seagulls shirts, and stinky socks?

No, really, you can.

Here’s why: according to Danny, only about 10% of donated clothing ever ends up on store shelves for resale. The tattered stuff gets sold to textile recyclers, who shred it up and use it in other things. Charities like Goodwill and Salvation Army make good money reselling our old tattered clothing.

So, there’s no reason to put old clothes in the trash! Donate away!

Thanks Danny!

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» Yes, You CAN Donate Tattered Clothing! | The Greenest Dollar
July 17, 2009 at 6:40 am


Green Bean July 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm

interesting! I had NO idea and usually end up cutting up old clothes to use for rags and then trashing the rest. thanks for the tip.

heather July 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Yeah, I had no idea either. I do the same thing, cutting up for rags and then trash. But not now! I was super happy to find this out.

Simpler Living July 16, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Good timing; I was just researching this for a reader of my blog. I haven’t heard back yet from the Salvation Army here (a national spokeswoman told me policies can vary by region), but here’s what a Goodwill spokesman said:

“Our standard response is that Goodwill welcomes donations of clothing and other items that are ‘in new or gently used’ condition. Worn out shoes are not re-sellable or re-usable, so we prefer not to take them. Worn-out clothing, on the other hand, can be recycled as textiles so we generally accept whatever the public brings to us.”

I’m linking to my relevant post. Thanks for the new info.

Rebecca Ross July 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm

You can also donate them (minus the buttons, snaps and zippers) to animal shelters. The shelter that I volunteer at uses them for bedding for the cats and dogs when they are in their kennels. It’s good to know that other places don’t just throw them away, though!

Fru-gal Lisa January 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I recently took down some very old drapes that I’d “inherited” from the former owners of my 48 year old house I bought last year. The drapes were original to the house and one part was so threadbare the light showed through it. I called our local Goodwill Industries, and yes, they accept such donations — not to sell in their thrift stores, but they bale worn-out fabrics and sell them to recyclers. My dusty, threadbare drapes will become insulation. I kept the drapes out of the landfill, and the proceeds will help fund Goodwill’s charitable works. Also, I replaced the drapes with some really nice looking drapes (in like-new condition) I bought in another thrift store — so the replacements are also frugal and green! Before donating the old drapes, I made sure I took out the drapery pins, which are like new and can be reused yet again, saving me even more money on drapery hardware. One caveat: check with the charity before you donate stuff like this, because not all charities recycle old fabric in this way.

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