The non-profit Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) asks the question: “Are we making the right decisions when the apparel, footwear, textiles, and accessories we buy are no longer useful?” The organization advises that we “Wear, Donate, Recycle.”

The facts suggest that we could be making better choices:

  • The U.S. generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textiles per year. Textiles can include clothing, footwear, accessories, towels, bedding, drapery, etc.
  • Of the 25 billion pounds of textiles that are generated each year, only 15 percent of those are donated or recycled.
  • If only 15 percent are recycled then that means 85 percent of the textiles generated each year are thrown into U.S. landfills. In real numbers that means 21 billion pounds of textiles are piled into our landfills each and every year.

Source: The Facts about Textile Waste at the Council for Textile Recycling website

Tips for making better choices:

  • Buy quality over quantity. Choosing to spend more on quality clothing will save you money in the long run and is better for the environment.
  • Look for retailers who will recycle unused clothing. There are many retailers, including H&M and The North Face, who will take back clothing and other textiles for recycling.
  • If you’re handy with the sewing machine (or want to be), check out The site has a bunch of great tutorials on how to “refashion and upcycle” your wardrobe. From the site, “Refashioning clothes and accessories is a great way to revamp your wardrobe without wasting money at the store. Check out these free ideas to learn how you can upcycle clothes and accessories you already have.”
  • Donate or recycle unwanted textiles. Search at to find textile recyclers near you.

To find out more information, visit The Council for Textile Recycling at