When we think of recycling we think cans, glass bottles and maybe old computers. We often overlook textile recycling which is a major business in the United States. Many consumers are starting to buy rags that are recycled to help save our Environment and save money too! The EPA estimates we throw away as high as 81 pounds of clothes each year resulting in 3.8 billion pounds of waste each year. Pretty shocking, right?

It’s not only clothing but almost all textiles that can be recycled. So what exactly is a textile? It’s any item made up of cloth, vinyl or other artificial fabric. Clothing is most obvious but also linens, bedding, upholstery, curtains, carpets and much more.

Where do old clothes go once recycled?

If you have a spill a super absorbent cloth will surely come in handy. A recycled bar towel is constructed from terry cloth fabric and has uncut fabric loops over its entire surface. These loops are the main reason this towel is extra absorbent as they hold in the water or liquid. With a few quick swipes these sponge like wiping cloths take care of a serious spill on the bar, bathroom, counter top, diner table or in the kitchen.

Here are the stats:

  • 45% becomes reused apparel and goes to the second hand clothing industry in the US or shipping to emerging nations who need cheap clothing options.

  • 30% of the textiles that are recycled turn into wiping cloth and rags for the industrial and commercial industries. Companies like A&A Wiping Cloth are a great source if you are looking to buy rags that have been recycled.

  • 20% is reprocessed into fiber content and used for things like home insulation, upholstery and building material.

  • 5% is the stinky, moldy, wet and contaminated clothing that doesn’t make the cut.

How can I help?

Find a location that accepts recycled clothing or a drop box. Just think – almost 95% of used clothing can be recycled, so make sure the clothing you drop off is dray and free of odor. However, stains or worn out and ripped material is all good!

Why does this all matter?

Recycled clothing helps save the environment plain and simple – because the manufacturing of clothing creates harmful chemicals, waste products and waste water that affect our environment.

More than 60% of the recycled clothes are sent abroad. Think about doing a solid for the hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries that benefit from this industry. Jobs are created in regards to trading, distributing, washing, repairing and restyling your old clothes.

So get out there and recycle your old clothes.