How to be more sustainable with your clothing choices


If you ever find yourself decluttering your closet of old clothes or clothing you just don’t wear anymore, don’t throw them away! There are plenty of sustainable ways to discard the clothing you no longer want. They might just end up becoming items you want again by transforming them into something useful and convenient. 

Over the past years, trash landfills have been accumulating large amounts of clothing, much produced by big-name brands as well as individuals. 

A report from CALPIRG identified that about 85 percent of “unused textiles and unsold clothes” are thrown away in the U.S alone, and “it is estimated that the average American throws away about 37kg/81 pounds of clothes every year.”

Another report from RoadRunner Smarter Recycling, stated that “the volume of clothing Americans throw away each year has doubled in the last 20 years, from 7 million to 14 million tons.”

Being unsustainable with clothing has a large negative impact on our planet. This is due to the process of making clothes, which involves a vast amount of water. Additionally, when clothing items end up in landfills, they are burned. With these numbers consistently increasing, the burning of clothing will release more carbon dioxide into the air, making it dangerous for all of us. These greenhouse gasses can ultimately increase global warming on the Earth. An article by theVOU provides more information on why sustainable fashion is important.

Below are some alternative ways to dispose of your clothing (or transform it) to help our planet:

Recycling & Recreating

In order to reduce the waste of clothing, transforming the clothing and fabric into something new can definitely help. For example, you can take a denim jacket or pants and turn them into a tote bag, pillowcase, headband, etc. Tote bags can be an everyday essential, carrying your belongings to school, work, or anywhere you need to go. These tote bags can also be a replacement for plastic bags when shopping. 

Not only will you be reducing the amount of clothing going to waste but also the amount of plastic you use! Creating this tote bag can also be a chance for you to customize it to your liking. Add any details to it and make it, you.

Additionally, you can also customize your clothes. Use markers, patches, spray paints, or any art supplies you wish to use. Add unique designs to your clothing to make them one and only!


Of course, there are other ways to clear out your closets. Suppose you don’t want to nor have time to do these crafty activities, you can dispose of these clothing items by donating them to different places. Depending on where you live, a Planet Aid Donation box may be available near your home. These boxes are easy ways in which you can dispose of your unwanted clothes. Just open the box, drop it off, and it’s all done! 

On top of that, you can provide them to stores such as Goodwill or H&M. H&M offers a recycling box in their stores where you can drop off clothing that can either be old or new. 

According to Good Housekeeping, some of the most prominent places to give your clothes a second life include…

Furthermore, you can donate clothes to people you know or to people in need by contributing them to shelters. Make sure it’s clothing that’s not dirty. Instead, donate gently used clothes for sanitary reasons.

Opt to Thrifting

Thrifting can be a great option to shop for your desired clothing items. Although not the most sustainable, it does do a good part in helping the Earth decrease the number of wasted clothes. In an article by Green America, it has been shown that in Goodwill “… roughly five percent of donated clothes are directly sent to landfills, largely due to mildew issues…” and some of the clothes are also sent to various locations. Many brands that are considered fast-fashion brands are dumping a lot of new clothing out to make room for new designs consistently coming in. With thrift stores, you can find your items there for a low price. Check for thrift stores near you or online such as ThredUp. There may also be clothing shops near your area that promote a more sustainable way to shop for your desired clothes such as Patagonia, Timberland, and Levi’s.

The earth provides us with many natural resources that are needed in order to survive. Let’s do our part to help our planet by minimizing our pollution and harm.