No clothes please – or textiles/fabric in the recycling bin!

No clothes please – or textiles/fabric in the recycling bin!

It seems to be a common misunderstanding that by placing clothing, footwear and textiles in the recycle bin, that it will somehow end up at a charity shop or be recycled. Unfortunately clothing cannot be sorted from recycling bins and taken to charity shops or processed for recycling.

The materials from your recycling bin are taken to a recycling facility (MRF) where the machines, as well as some manual sorting from people, separate and sort the items depending on the material they are made from. Materials that can be sorted for recycling are: paper and cardboard, rigid plastics, glass, steel and aluminium.  The separated materials are then bailed or placed into containers which are sent to a specialised recycling facility to be pulped (paper), melted and granulated (plastic), or melted (glass and metals) to make new products.

Fabrics are not able to be processed in this way from kerbside bins. There are however a few companies such as MUD Jeans that have set up technology specifically to shred fabric and recycle it into new Jeans. You will need to drop off your old jeans and other garmets to MUD Jeans in order for them to be recycled.

If you have good quality clothing, footwear or fabric please donate it to a charity, friend or family member. Animal shelters will also accept blankets for bedding.

If the clothing or fabric is worn out and cannot be repaired or re-used, then consider using it for cleaning or mechanical rags. Check with your local mechanic as they may also be able to use the material for rags. You can also donate them through a number of places listed here.

If this is not an option for you, then place worn out items into the general waste bin.

Click here for more infomation on how you can avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle and compost clothing.