The Green Living Guy

Recycling textile can have significant benefits for the environment. That’s most notably, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. Yet, most do it to make room for new fashions. For the average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.

Recycling Textile, It’s Impact on the Environment

So this article helps with decreasing the need for virgin materials to make new products.

According to the USEPA [1], discarded clothing is one of the main sources of textiles in municipal solid waste. In addition to is approximately 84% of clothing globally ends up in landfills and also incinerators every year.

Briarcliff Manor recycling textile at massive rate

The Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee of my village, Briarcliff Manor, organized a highly successful Take It or Leave It event. This event required thorough planning and extensive efforts. All which ultimately paid off. Our initiative resulted in the generous distribution of more than 2.5 to 3 tons of clothing.  For that’s along with various other items.


It is also worth noting that all of these items were given away to the community. You know; Rather than being sold. This first Take It or Leave It event was a great success. Finally, in promoting environmental sustainability and community involvement.


More noteworthy, recycling clothing or textiles conserves water and energy. Especially as it requires less water and energy to recycle materials. I mean than doing everything to produce new ones from scratch.



In addition, [2] textile waste mills can recycle clothing. That’s unless it has mildew or has been stained. Especially with a solvent like gasoline. So excess textiles can also be recycled. More importantly at a corporate level.

Additionally, donating clothing to charity or giving it away to people. Well, as we know, it can provide social and economic benefits [3].  Clearly to communities in need.

Recycling clothing

Lower greenhouse gas emissions from recycling textile

The fashion industry lead by fast fashion. It is one of the largest polluters in the world. It is also responsible for 10% of worldwide carbon emissions. That’s according to the recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The global fashion industry emits 1.7 billion tons of CO2 each year. This represents more than all air and sea travel combined. And at the current pace, the fashion industry greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise. That’s by 50% by 2030.

Fashion Industry with its impact on not recycling textile

The fashion industry is responsible for significant water consumption. For with one pair of jeans is a lot. It’s requiring 3,781 liters of water to produce [2]. Chemicals used to make synthetic fabrics are derived from coal, oil, or natural gas [1]. Clothes are often transported thousands of miles across the world. Because shipping is accounting for 90% of garment transportation [3].

In addition, the fashion industry generates 10% of annual global carbon emissions. It is also responsible for 20% of worldwide wastewater. That’s due to fabric dyeing and treatment [3]. Furthermore, it is estimated that less than 1% of used clothing is recycled into new garments. That’s leading to a significant value loss [3]. Ignoring the environmental cost will lead to a surge in emissions by over 50% by 2030 [3].

The industry needs to transition to a sustainable model by using new materials. Also, new alternatives and more eco-friendly processes. All by promoting more durable clothing; and especially so it can be recycled or resold [3].

Beyond the Label Textile

According to one of my most reliable sources on clothing. As well as recycling or anything related to clothing. It is Beyond the Label.

As they mention that the people affected along the supply chain and retail:


  1. Farmers
  2. cutters
  3. sewers
  4. bleachers
  5. washers
  6. fabric dyers
  7. nearby communities
  8. retail employees
  9. your family and you.

Chemicals to think about:

  1. Pesticides
  2. fiber extractors
  3. bleach
  4. detergent
  5. dyes
  6. mordants
  7. printing fluids
  8. finishing agents
  9. fire retardants
Recycling textile
Image Source: Beyond the Label

What Each Person Saves

According to Panaprium and the 2017 report by the American Apparel Association, each person that buys second-hand clothing can prevent more than 500 pounds of carbon emissions every year. It reduces one’s water, waste, and carbon footprint by more than 80%.

Needless to say, people, in general, should rely on second-hand clothing more often. You can go to the typical flea market and other traditional resale shops. As well as buy online.

In addition, cotton is the primary raw material used; all in the fabrication of textile and apparel worldwide.


Unfortunately, it requires a large amount of:

  1. water
  2. pesticides
  3. fertilizers to grow.

The production of 2.2 lbs of cotton used in the apparel and textile industry for garment manufacturing requires up to 6.6 lbs of chemicals.

According to the Pulse of the fashion industry report (2018) by the Global Fashion Agenda, cotton farming consumes 4% of worldwide of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers. As well as 16% of all insecticides. Finally and 7% of all herbicides.


In conclusion and for more information on the benefits of textile recycling and donation, look no further. Check out the following links:


[1] Textiles: Material-Specific Data | US EPA

[2] What Happens to Your Used Clothing Donations

[3] How Much Do Our Wardrobes Cost to the Environment?

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