Being an environmentally-minded individual and working at a company that also upholds these beliefs, I have been thinking about new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Sure, I separate my plastics and paper, bring my tote bag to the grocery store and harass my neighbors and coworkers to do so as well (yea, I can get a little pushy, but it’s in the name of Mother Earth). Yet I recently have been asking myself, “what else can I do?” How can I further my efforts?
A New Discovery
I always feel terrible just throwing out old clothes, but is there a way to recycle them? Well, actually, there is. Textile recycling is a thing and most garments are completely recyclable, including—wait for it—your Hanky Panky undies. Gasp! Shocked? Turned off? Then keep reading, this is for you!
Yes, I too have banished my old undergarments to the waste bin never to be thought of again. However, there is no need to be put off by the idea; we all have old underwear as well as old t-shirts, sheets, jeans, and they all need to go somewhere. So instead of going to the garbage, let them go to a good cause. But before we head over, let’s talk about how those old undies will become new goodies.
Textile Recycling: A Brief Explanation
Depending where you take your old garments, the process, according to GrowNYC, is generally that they will be:
“sorted into different grades, with an effort to recover as much usable clothing as possible for distribution to second-hand markets. Material that is not suitable for reuse will go to recycling markets to be used as wiping rags or shredded for low grade fiber products such as insulation.”
So who cares if your insulation is made of an old, stained t-shirt or a pair of underwear that have taken you through funny, memorable moments? It’s no biggie and it’s better than a landfill. Recycling clothes is a great way to reduce greenhouse emissions significantly, create jobs and help non-profits raise funds to keep running.
One Man’s Trash…
Now back to the question that started this whole post: where should your Hanky Pankys go in their twilight days? You can find the answer here under the “How You Can Help” section for tips to extend their life and select the link to find a place near you. Also, the Council for Textile Recycling has an international locator for donation sites. Various organizations, businesses, stores, even farmers markets accept textiles for re-purposing. Recycling centers and thrift stores will sell the items that cannot be sold in their stores to industrial buyers and salvage brokers to support their organizations.
Last but not least, it is always best practice to donate or recycle textiles that are clean and dry. So are we over the stigma now? Textile recycling isn’t so bad, right? Whether you’re getting rid of some old pants or panties, don’t forget to employ the last of those three Rs: RECYCLE.
Happy Earth Day! What new habit/routine will you pick up in the name of Mother Earth? Comment below.