Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Clothes Recycling

For years, I've wondered what to do about clothes you don't wear anymore, that are too worn out to give to charity. We already have two drawers full of rags from old shirts, bathrobes, etc. The kitten has a lovely pillow made from an old work shirt with the sleeves cut off (not that she lays on it, but I can't be held responsible for the way a cat thinks).

And once again, it's time to clean out our closets. Normally we don't buy a lot of clothes, but since I'm purchasing a whole new maternity wardrobe, space has gotten tight and hangers in high demand. So the other night I went online, looking for something different from "make shirts into rags or a dog bed."

At first, I struck out. Then, on the faircompanies* community boards, I found a surprising answer:
While the smaller thrift stores don't usually take worn-out clothing, larger charities like Goodwill and Salvation Army do.

I spoke with Mauricio Hernandez, the Sr VP of Retail Sales for Goodwill NYC and Northern NJ, and he informed me that they will take any used clothing, no matter how worn. Basically, whatever they can't sell in their stores they will sell to salvage dealers who recycle the fibers for rags or insulation material and the wool for rugmaking. What they can't recycle they sell overseas.

To find locations in your area go to the websites for Goodwill and Salvation Army. Both have store locators.
I found it interesting—and reassuring—that we can continue to do what we've already done, in giving clothes to Goodwill. But now I'll be aware that I don't have to weed out the clothes that are unsuitable for resale. Now the final hurdle is actually finding the time to sort through the closet and actually take the old clothes to the drop-off point. In other words, completion of this task could still be a few weeks away;)


FitGeGe said...

This is great! I had no idea they did all this stuff. Thanks for the heads up! :o)

M. Lubbers said...

You're very welcome! I just figured if I've been wondering for a while, surely there's someone else out there who thought the same thing;)

I'm glad you find it helpful! I'm trying to find ways to stop throwing away items that won't decompose in a landfill, so as I hear of more opportunities I'll keep you posted.