Damaged and unsaleable clothing do not have to be thrown away, and can still be put to use long after you finish being able to wear them. Some charities are able to sell damaged and unsaleable clothing to companies that recycle the clothing for industrial rags. Items that are suitable industrial rags have to be clean and absorbent materials, so no denim. Damaged clothing made out of natural fibres can be used to prevent weeds in gardens. Community gardens, your local green thumb, or landcare groups may have a use for your damaged clothing.
Increasing volumes of textiles are disposed of in landfill sites to the detriment of the environment. When damaged clothing is donated to a charity that cannot make use of it, it ends up in landfill, it is estimated that 12.5 million kilos of textiles are unsuitable and are subsequently sent to landfill.
Landfill impacts air, water and land quality, and between 2001 and 2007 the volume of waste deposited to landfill increased by 12%. This means it is becoming even more important that we avoid adding anything to landfill that can be put to another use.
Not all charities take damaged and unsaleable clothing, so make sure you check before you donate.