Back in Action 31, I talked about the importance of textiles as contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, because of many aspects of their life cycle: the energy that goes into growing and/or synthesizing the raw materials, the energy in turning those materials into clothes, the energy of washing them, and, at the end of their lives, how they form a substantial component of our landfill waste- about 5% of our solid waste stream in the US! -which ends up producing quite a lot of greenhouse gases. There are many steps we can take to improve our textile carbon footprint- buy fewer clothes of higher quality that themselves have lower carbon footprints, maintain and mend them rather than tossing them at the first sign of wear, and passing them on to Goodwill and other places that give old clothes second lives with people who need them.
But there comes a time in every textile’s life that its just too darned worn to pass on, and for our household, that includes children who play hard and dogs that really enjoy for some reason shredding clothes and blankets when we are not looking. What do you do with this stuff? Ive always wondered, and I’ve always felt guilty about shoving these shreds in my trash, but what else can you do?
Well, it turns out there is something I can do!
We are lucky enough to be near a North Face store, and The North Face has partnered with the Conservation Alliance and I:CO to take worn out clothes and recycle them. The program is called Clothes The Loop, which takes old clothes to be recycled and turned into new fibers for clothing, stuffing, and other textile needs. Plus, I got a $10 coupon towards a north face purchase for donating these used items! Pretty sweet deal all around, in my opinion. I hope this is just the beginning of a growing trend to make textile recycling an increasingly accessible and available alternative to throwing away material that can be reused.
Many thanks to my wonderful friends at Trash Backwards for letting me know about this service!