Sometimes we think it's the end of the road for those jeans that ripped in between the thighs or that dress that no longer fits, but it doesn't have to be. Clothing recycling is certainly in fashion and it's easy for you to take part in the movement.
Similar to New York City’s #WearNext initiative launched this week, South Africa has a number of outlets where you can recycle clothing you potentially can’t donate. The NYC department of sanitation in partnership with other brands started this online campaign to encourage a reduced amount of clothing that end up in landfills.
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South Africa, like many other parts of the world – including New York City, battles with large amount of waste in landfills. According to Stats SA, South Africa produces 59 million tonnes of general waste, of which only 10% is recycled – resulting in South Africa running out of space for waste disposal.
Shopping vintage clothing or remaking your existing clothes into something new are just some of the ways to recycle your wardrobe items.
H&M has collection bins shoppers can use to contribute to clothing that will be recycled into new items such as insulation material, carpet underlay, stuffed toys or shoe insoles, among other products. With the proceeds, H&M says it will invest in new technologies to be able to reuse and recycle all textile fibres, and the surplus income to go to the H&M Foundation.
In South Africa, H&M has collection bins nationwide where you can drop off any item of clothing from any brand.
Other ways to help reduce landfill waste is to sell or donate clothing and the best places to go to are organisations that create employment opportunities.
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Clothes to Good is one like organisation where you can donate clothes you no longer wear. They value clothing donations at R7 per kilogram and the money get distributed to their separate initiatives including a feeding program against hunger, a Clothes to Wheels program to support differently abled people, among other initiatives. This organisation often work with schools and companies to collect mass clothing, but individuals are welcome to donate too. If you are in Gauteng you can contact Clothes to Good here to possibly arrange a pickup point.
The Clothing Bank is another initiative that encourages entrepreneurship for unemployed mothers in efforts to combat the high unemployment rate in the country. Clothing items are collected in select malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town to be collected and resold by women who are part of the program. View the full list of drop offs here.
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Unfortunately in South Africa, Stats SA reports that only 5.2% of households recycled waste in 2015. But in this way you can make your own contribution to conscious fashion by passing on your once loved fashion pieces to these environmental, social and economic initiatives.
Looking good while doing good is not the worst idea.
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