Recycling Textiles at Home

You can give your old clothes a second life by depositing them in a textile bank. These are usually located on public amenity sites, in reclamation centres or near can and bottle banks.

Anything you can wear or sleep in can be put in a textile bank. This includes all clothes, hats, handbags, belts, and shoes, as well as blankets, curtains, towels and bed linen. Under clothes are also in great demand. Don’t forget to tie your shoes in pairs so they don’t lose each other!

You can’t put duvets, pillows, carpets, rugs, eiderdowns, books or bric-a-brac in textile banks.

There are specialist companies who may be able to use these sorts of things, so call your local authority’s Recycling Officer for more information.

Projects For Kids

For kids interested in learning more about textile recycling, complete one or more of the following projects at home:

  • It takes about 1.5 gallons, or nearly 8 litres, of oil to make a kilogram of clothing. How many items of clothing do you think is in a kilogram? Use a pair of kitchen scales to check your answer. Can you work out how much oil would be needed to make just one shirt, or one pair of shoes??
  • Write a story about the life of a red woollen jumper. What happens to it after it is taken to the textile bank? Maybe it is pulled apart and made into a new item of clothing? Or perhaps it is sent to another country to find a new owner?!
  • Have a look through your cupboard at home. Are there any clothes that are too small for you, or that you never wear? If you don’t have any younger brothers or sisters to give them to, why don’t you suggest to your parents that you take them to a textile bank, so someone else can use them.
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