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Clothes recycling


Find out how to reduce, reuse, revive or recycle your clothes, shoes and textiles.

Every year, 1.4 million tonnes of clothing and textiles is thrown away in the UK. 30% of the discarded clothes have never been worn - contributing to the UK's unused clothing bill of £30 million. 

Discarding clothes and textiles also affects the environment. The total carbon footprint of clothing in the UK last year was 26.2 million tonnes of C02. 

The majority of clothes/textiles can easily be recycled or reused.

Please do not put clothes, shoes, bedding or textiles in your household recycling bin.

To find out how to recycle specific clothes/textiles items, see our Reuse and recycling A-Z.

Top tips to reduce clothing and textiles waste

Reduce

  • Savvy saver - do you really need a new top/shirt or bag? Think about saving the money instead to buy something special.
  • Hire clothes - occasions such as weddings and christenings usually means buying a new dress, hat or suit. Try rental options online or in store instead.
  • Disposable fashion - buy clothing items that will not date or go out of fashion quickly. A classic blazer or jacket, plain t-shirt and a pair of jeans can be mixed and matched with other items to create different looks and styles.
  • Washing - follow laundry instructions carefully to reduce the need to replace items. Rinse spills immediately to prevent stains.

Reuse

Revive and repair

  • Do basic clothing repairs such as sewing holes, hems or replacing lost buttons and broken zips.
  • Add brooches, bows, ribbons or sequins to plain clothing items/jeans/t-shirts/trousers/jackets to create a new look.
  • Make new items from old items by upcycling clothes. Old sheets/duvet covers or fabric can be used to make new pillowcases, cushion covers or doll/teddy bear clothes.

Recycle

Once you have exhausted all of the above options, your clothes/textiles can be recycled. 

  • Please do not put clothes, shoes, fashion bags, bedding or textiles into your blue-lidded recycling bin as we cannot recycle these items from your household recycling bin.

  • Take items to a household waste recycling centre. Clothes, shoes and textiles do not have to be in good condition to be recycled as they will be stripped, shredded and turned into new products.
  • To find out how to recycle specific clothes/textiles items, see our reuse and recycling A-Z.
  • Use the Recycle Now search engine to find other recycling outlets near you.
  • 'Bag 2 School' collects clothes/textiles items taken to schools. Check with your local school whether they offer the scheme or visit Bag 2 School for details.
  • Many large fashion brands offer a retail take-back scheme where you can drop-off/recycle clothes in-store. Check fashion brand websites for further information.

Further information

Please contact us for further advice or information or follow us on Facebook at Recycle for County Durham on Facebook.

Contact us
Waste Management
03000 26 1000
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
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