INSIDE: How to easily recycle old, damaged kids clothes. Sustainable clothing recycling and repurposing ideas to save the Earth.
I have three active kids. While my daughter is busy, she’s no match to the baseball slides down the hallway, tumbling off the couch, kneeling in dirt kind of players my boys are.
And their clothes show it. I have patched, sewn and glued their pants and shirts. But sometimes, you just have to wave that white flag of surrender. No amount of ‘McGuyering’ their clothes will save them.
So what can you do with bottoms, tops, socks and shoes that are damaged and destroyed? Turns out, a lot. Read on for 5 awesome ways to save kids old clothes AND 5 great places to send them. The clothes, not the kids 😁
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How to Easily Save and Recycle Old Kids Clothes
Do you know that more than 15 million tons of clothing waste is dumped each year? And that amount has doubled over the past 20 years.
Instead of feeling bad about those shoes you recently tossed in the garbage, here’s what you can do next time to help Mother Earth and teach your kids about sustainability.
What to do with Kids Damaged and Destroyed Old Clothes
Thanks to Pinterest and the like, there are endless ideas for upcycling and re-purposing kids damaged and destroyed clothing. All doable ideas you can do from home!
Can You Fix It First?
Before you toss it, can you fix it? Products like Tear Mender is a fabric adhesive designed to quickly fix tears, rips, holes and loose hems on clothing without the use of needle and thread!
3 minutes later, after using Tear Mender to apply a piece of fabric over the hole… Brand new kids play pants!
Put a Patch On It
Have you seen the cute fabric patches you can buy these days? They look especially cool when you use them to cover up a small hole in your kiddo’s clothing. And the best part? You just iron them on!
Cover Holes with Iron-On Vinyl
Whether you have a fancy Cricut machine or not, you can just as easily cover holes, large and small, with iron-on vinyl. Just be sure to read the instructions first to protect your iron and the clothing you’re trying to salvage.
Compost Old Clothes
Any fabric made from natural fibers, like cotton, can be cut into smaller pieces and tossed into a compost bin. Just be sure to remove button, fasteners and zippers first. Those are not biodegradable!
Old Clothes = Chores
Transform that ratty, pit-stained t-shirt into a cleaning rag. Look at you (or your kids) cleaning the bathroom with an old shirt while saving the Earth simultaneously! 🤩
5 Awesome Places for Recycling Kids Old Clothes
Many national charities, like Goodwill and Salvation Army, cannot handle the amount of clothing donations they receive. Because of that, only 10-15% of donated clothing actually winds up in their secondhand stores. Instead, drop off that bag of gently used clothing to a local thrift shop, where your old clothes will more than likely wind up on the rack.
Another idea – ask your child’s school if they need gently used pants, underwear, tops and socks. Kids are messy, kids have accidents. Help another kiddo have a better day at school by donating some outgrown clothing.
Recycle with Planet Aid
Planet Aid recycles gently used as well as damaged clothing. They then use those funds to support programs for children in impoverished countries, including health and teacher training in developing countries.
Does your state have a Planet Aid drop off bin? Click here to find out.
Got Old Denim Jeans?
Did you know that 1,677 pieces of denim = 1 ton in the landfill? Because denim is made with cotton, it can easily be broken down and transformed into something new. Like building insulation.
Zappos For Good has a denim recycling program that’s as easy as boxing up your old blue jeans, printing out their prepaid shipping label and dropping off the box at any UPS location.
Get a Coupon Towards NEW Clothes
Certain chain clothing stores will accept clothing donations from any brand, like H&M and North Face. (They may even give you a coupon towards new clothes!) Other stores will accept their brands only for recycling including Nike and Patagonia. Call ahead and find out their policies before dragging that bag of old clothes through the mall!
How to Teach Kids to Recycle Old Clothing
Shoes = Love
Did you know that 100 pair of (donated) shoes = 1 month of food, shelter and education for an impoverished family? To date, 35 million shoes have been kept out of landfills when you recycle them with Shoes4Soles.
We just did this recently with my daughter’s gently used tennis shoes!
More Kind Ideas: