According to the EPA, 14.5 million tons of textiles were landfilled and incinerated in 2018. If you want to reduce your environmental fashion footprint, the best approach is to purchase less clothing.
However, if you have clothing that you no longer want, but is still in the condition to be worn, then you should consider repurposing the fabrics through donations to local organizations or a textile recycling program. While donations to reuse extends the life of the materials reducing the environmental footprint left behind, textile recycling programs will treat waste clothing materials as either a secondary use product or a regeneration use product.
The secondary use of clothing material refers to the the direct use of clothes after recycling through a simple sterilization and cleaning of the fabric. When fabric is classified as regeneration use, the material is treated through certain methods to obtain raw materials for creating a new product to use in a different field. Here are some textile recycling programs you can access in Denver: Red Apple Recycling, USAgain, ARC Thrift Stores, H&M Stores, Patagonia and Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Campaign. The Auraria Sustainable Campus Program also receives clothing donations for reuse in their Free Store Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. -3 p.m.
In Lowry, we are fortunate to have Sally Kurtzman and Melly Kinard who find gently used items and clothing a new home. In the month of February, Sally Kurtzman is collecting t-shirts for migrants and those that are experiencing homelessness. You can drop off any t-shirts you would like to donate at the Monclair Recreation Center (729 Ulster Way). Sally’s box is right inside the front door and she makes sure each item finds a good home. Sally assesses the needs with the shelters and other organizations and then each month collects different items that are needed. If you have questions, you can email Sally email@example.com. Last year, she found a home for 5,000 unused backpacks.