15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts

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10.Make A Scarf

If you have got several old shirts that you no longer wear, then you can cut pieces from each shirt and sew them together. It will create a beautiful and unique scarf. You can make them for kids because it will look magnificent on them.

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1. DON’T throw used clothing away

French artist Christain Boltanski’s “No Man’s Land
French artist Christain Boltanski’s “No Man’s Land: 30 tonnes of discarded clothing.” Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty

 

The first and most obvious rule- don’t throw clothing away! In a world that is facing a climate emergency, it’s surprising how many billions of pounds of consumer waste still ends up in landfills each year.

According to the EPA, in 1980 the U.S. generated around 5 billion pounds of textile waste, with 4 billion of that going into landfills. In 2015, just 35 years later, post-consumer textile waste was over 32 billion pounds, with 21 billion pounds of that going into landfills. 

 

That’s a lot of clothes.
That’s a lot of clothes.

 

What’s more, we know that 95% of this could have been reused or recycled! Since the fashion industry is responsible for over 10% of global carbon emissions, if we’re going to address climate change, we can easily start by keeping our clothes for longer and recycling them in more sustainable ways. 

 

EPA: Facts & Figures About Materials, Waste an
EPA: Facts & Figures About Materials, Waste and Recycling

 

Fortunately, some organizations are already hard at work to address waste problems in the fashion industry. SAC,  the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, has positioned itself to play a pivotal part in changing how we approach textile waste. Originally formed by the fairly unlikely alliance of Walmart and Patagonia, they’ve become the textile industry’s leading alliance for sustainable production.

The SAC’s Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) is an amazing new tool that accurately measures the environmental sustainability impacts of individual materials. This gives clothing manufacturers the incentive to get the lowest score possible.

So while there is still a lot of material going into landfills, and a lot more needs to be done, things are heading in a positive direction! 

4. DO Donate to a Clothing Collection Company

Since the secondhand clothing market is huge and ever-growing, you may be looking for other places to donate your clothes. Clothing collection companies, for a number of years, have been taking over where charities have left off. These companies ensure that clothing is reused and make a small profit in the meantime. 

Some of the uses are really interesting, with clothing that is not resold or donated being shredded into stuffing used in car seats or combusted for energy production. 

RushOrder Recommends: Green Drop

 

 

If you’re looking for a clothing collection company that’s truly easy to use, try Green Drop! As well as dropping off your stuff directly, you can schedule pickup and simply wait for a truck to come around. You don’t even need to leave the house!

Green Drop’s proceeds go to programs for the American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia! You can find a location or schedule a pickup here.

 

3. An infinity scarf

Scarves are a wonderful fashion accessory that can upgrade any outfit, and now you can easily make one yourself. In order to do this, cut long strips of a shirt that you no longer wear and another strap to secure the edges. Stretch the straps, loop them together, and stretch again, as shown in the image.

3. Create Beautiful Pom-Poms

You can use your old shirts to make cute pom-poms. They are very useful for decoration purposes. You can use them to as decoration during weddings, birthdays, baby showers, etc. They are easy to make and excellent use of used clothing.

Step 1: Shirt Reducing

(I am again assuming that most people reading this have basic sewing skills.) Remove the sleeves of the shirt you want to use. Cut the sleeve off at the length that you want your bag to be, plus your seam allowance, and sew the bottom shut. If you want to use a sleeve with a cuff, you could, I would just sew the cuff shut first, before making it into a bag. (Sorry some of these pictures aren’t the best, I was consumed with craft mania, and got in a hurry to finish. Also it is kind of hard to take pictures of black velvet. ) 🙂

The Easiest Recycled T-shirt Craft: Frame It to Preserve Memories

If your favorite ragged old t shirt commemorates a significant event in your life – whether it was a special gift from a loved one, reminds you of that last wild concert you attended or bears your alma mater’s logo – preserve those memories by framing it. Have it done professionally or, if you’re feeling crafty, do it yourself. This simplest of old t shirt crafts is also a great gift to give a loved one, and a not-so-subtle way of taking that ragged shirt you’re tired of looking at out of the wardrobe lineup.

Measure the graphics to find the most appropriate frame size (the frame should be slightly larger than the portion of the graphics you want displayed.) Then cut out a piece of stiff cardboard that fits the frame, less 1/8-inch on each side.

Lay the old shirt graphics-side down. Place the cardboard on the back of the shirt and carefully fold the shirt around it in to make a neat, frame-shaped package with the graphics centered in front of the cardboard panel. Use masking tape to secure the shirt in place on the cardboard if necessary and slide it into the frame.

10. Knitted sweater gloves

In the winter, your hands can get especially cold, but instead of buying gloves to warm them, just make them yourself! Choose a knitted sweater that you no longer need, turn it inside out and put your hand on it. Use a chalk or marker to draw a slightly wider outline of your hand to make room for sewing. Cut the sweater according to the lines and hand or machine sew the edges. Turn over your new gloves and go out into the winter weather without fearing your hands will freeze.

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