Spring Cleaning: Cleaning Out Your Closet

February 25, 2014

With spring fast approaching, be on the lookout for a series of blog posts with Eco-friendly spring cleaning tips. To start out, let’s look at how to clean out your closet without adding to landfills.

Fast fashion is defined as a contemporary term describing a clothing chain’s ability to move designs from catwalk to stores quickly at a low price to customers. It brings an end to the two-season shopping; companies like Zara, H&M and Forever 21 can design, manufacture and get new styles into store shelves within a month. Although fast and cheap, our closets can’t keep up, forcing us to throw away the excess of it – approximately 70 pounds per person annually according to the Council for Textile Recycling. This translates into approximately 191 T-shirts per person, totaling 3.8 billion pounds of waste making our landfills pay the price.

Here’s the good news! More than 90% of this discarded fabric, worn or torn, is recyclable:

Resell them – If the tag is still on them or they’re in top condition, the clothes can be resold to consignment or vintage shops such asPlato’s Closet, a nationwide used clothing chain.

Donate – H&M has a recycling policy allowing for shoppers to exchange one shopping bag of clothing, no H&M label required, for a 15% discount on any item of their choice. The Salvation Army and Goodwill have over 2,300 centers and drop-off locations for your gently used goods. Dress for Success accepts women’s professional attire and Donate My Dress accepts formal and special occasion dress donations to others who need them.

Hand them down to younger kids in your family or to your friends.

Swap – Find a local public clothes swap and exchange clothes with someone else, trading an unwanted item for a “new” item in your closet.

Recycle – Send your clothes directly to a textile recycler if your clothes are past their prime. In Wake County, your local Convenience Center will accept clothing and shoes.

No matter which option you pick, recycle the stuffed garbage bag full of unwanted clothing next time you clean out that overfilled closet.