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My Trash, Your Treasure!

Unwanted Textiles—A Staggering Fact:

  • The numbers don’t lie, the U.S. throws away up to 11.3 million tons of textile waste each year—around 2,150 pieces of clothing each second!

  • The clothing industry is the second largest polluter on the planet! About 85% of it will end up in municipal landfills.

  • Some fashion brands such as Zara committed that in 2022, 50% of items sold will be made from recycled materials. Other brands, including some luxury brands, are setting future goals to use more organic or recycled materials.

  • Don’t add to this statistic, shop responsibly, donate wearable items no longer wanted, repair and reuse and dispose of them as a final resort. 

Consign, Sell, Or Donate

Buy, Sell and Consign:

Divert unworn or gently clothing clothing and accessories to prevent them ending up in the landfill. Seek out neighborhood consignment, vintage and thrift stores–there are several in Tampa, or sell on neighborhood sites. Here are some for the most well-known online retailers:

  • ThredUp

  • Poshmark

  • Vinted

  • TheRealReal

  • Grailed



  • Chairish

  • Etsy

  • eBay

  • Craigslist

  • Facebook Marketplace

  • Nextdoor

  • VarageSale


Donate or Recycle / Re-purpose:

  • To Goodwill, Salvation Army or a local church or charity

  • Business clothing. Dress for Success, a nonprofit with chapters in 94 US cities, including Florida, accepts donations of women’s suits, shoes, and briefcases, which are passed on to economically disadvantaged women entering the professional world.

  • Animal shelters such as the Humane Society are always in need of towels. Sheets and other bedding may be needed, contact them to find out what they accept.

  • Old athletic shoes can find new homes. One World Running, a Colorado nonprofit formerly known as Shoes for Africa, sends gently running shoes and gear, soccer cleats, and baseball equipment to athletes in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and Haiti.

  • From Green America, here is an additional list of 21 things you didn't know you could recycle!

  • Organize a Swap. Another great option for saying goodbye to old clothes is to host a Swap Party, a great way of merging reuse with socializing and community building!

    • Invite friends and family to bring articles of clothing that they’re looking to give away but are still in wearable condition.

    • Party attendees exchange items for a win-win, they rid their closets of unwanted items and take home new ones.

  • Organize a community Rummage Sale or “Pop-Up” event for a nominal entrance fee and donate the proceeds to charity.

  • Some retailers operate take-back programs and offer remuneration::

    • H&M Stores accept damaged and unwearable clothing. In 2020, they collected 18,800 tons of unwanted clothes and textiles through their Garment Collecting program. That’s the equivalent of 94 million T-shirts!

    • Drop-off bins are situated in many stores. Take items bagged into small bags and check with the stores whether bedding is acceptable. Read more about their sustainability commitment to closing the loop.

  • Read here and here for more options for recycling textiles.

DIY: Revamping and Repairing Old Clothes:

  • Conduct an online search, for example “revamping old clothes” or something similar to turn up ideas and instructions for ways to breathe life into old clothes.

  • If the task seems too daunting for the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, contact your local shoe repair or alteration shop. They may be able to re-sole a once-loved pair of boots or shoes, fix a zipper, or otherwise salvage an article of clothing that you wouldn’t have thought you could wear again.

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