Recycle Clothes for Cash

How many clothes do you buy per year? How many of them do you actually use—and what happens to the ones you don’t?

Many of us “recycle” our clothes by giving them away or selling them, but with stores coming up with new designs every season, it’s going to take a lot of giving to keep up with the volume. A better way to get rid of clothes you no longer plan on using is to recycle them. Not only will they be given a new purpose and kept out of the incinerators; they can even earn you a bit of pocket money!

To be sure, most people only make a few dollars when they recycle clothes for cash. The typical rate is about $1 per kilo. But it’s better than nothing—and what really matters isn’t the money, but what you’re doing for the environment. A recent study showed that women buy about half their body weight in clothes per year, and discard just as much. A lot of it ends up in the trash bins, adding to the mountains of waste we’re already making. By recycling instead of discarding, you make a little less waste while possibly helping out someone in need.

How are clothes recycled, exactly? Recycling is actually a broad term when applied to textiles. If they’re still in good condition—sometimes people just outgrow them or change their minds—the clothes can be given away to shelters and orphanages, so it’s better defined as reusing. If they’re no longer wearable, they are either broken down into fibers and combined with other textiles to make new fabric, or shredded and used as fillers for mattresses, furniture, and or car seats. In the latter sense, they aren’t so much recycled as “diverted”—since they still get thrown away eventually, we’re only squeezing a bit more use out of them before they are officially discarded.

That doesn’t mean you don’t do much good when you recycle clothes for cash. For one thing, it saves the world money—instead of buying new raw material for clothes and furniture, they can use recycled and cut down on their consumption. For another, it helps people in need, whether it’s children in orphanages or people in disaster-stricken areas. So next time you spring-clean your closet, don’t head straight to the bin—look for a clothes recycling center and your area and give your old wardrobe a second chance at life.

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