Finally got round to reorganising your wardrobe and left with lots of clothes you no longer want? 

Just under 336,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in the bin across the UK every year and a staggering £30 billion worth of unused clothing is still sitting in our wardrobes nationwide (WRAP).  

The good news is that whatever their state, there's plenty of sustainable things you can do to reuse upcycle and recycle old clothes, rather than throwing them away.  

Clothes that are too worn to wear

1) Transform and upcycle into something new 

Clothes that are damaged, stained or holecan be given to textile and fabric recycling (see below) or use parts of them to create new items such as face masks, padding for chairs, car seats, cleaning cloths, and industrial blankets.  

5 ideas for upcycling old clothes

2) Check out local textile & fabric recycling spots 

Any clothing that isn’t good enough to be passed on can still be given a new life via clothing banks. You can find clothing and textile banks in supermarkets and local car parks. Visit Recycle Now to find one near you.  

3) Ask your council about textile collections  

Many local councils offer clothes and textiles collections, so it’s always worth checking this out on local council websites. These collections are free to use and easy and they will be put to good use.  

4) Give to an animal shelter 

Animal shelters often use old clothes, towels, and other old fabric and textiles for the animals they have in their care. They use them to clean, make beds and blankets, and help the shelter feel more like home for the animals. Consider bringing old sweaters and t-shirts to help a fluffy friend in need. Here are some more tips on what you can donate to an animal shelter.  

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Clothes that still have life in them

5) Donate  to charity

Clothes that are in good condition can be passed on to local charity shops, or there are often charities that will do collections. The Charity Retail website will help you to find your nearest charity shopUniforms and company-branded clothing are harder to get rid of but it's worth asking your employers to look into this for you. Old school uniforms can be donatedthrough ‘old school uniform’, or your local school uniform store might have a second-hand rail. 

6) Pass on or hand them down 

Hand-me-downs are an excellent option as children grow as they're both environmentally friendly and save lots of money over the years. This can also be a great solution between friends, if say you’ve changed sizes and want your clothes to go to a loving home, gift them to a friend that fits! Remember to be honest about any damage, make sure they want and will use them, and wash the clothes before you pass them along. 

7) Rent your clothes 

MyWardrobeHQ and ByRotation are both clothing rental platforms. Renting out clothes is a great option if you need space but don’t want to completely say goodbye. Spread the joy of a gorgeous garment and make a few pounds in the process. Equally, if there’s no more room in your closet but you want a stand-out outfit for a one-off occasion, renting might be the solution for you!   

8) Swap your old clothes 

See if those closest to you – family, friends or flatmates – are up for exchanging a few items, so you all get some new pieces for free! Swapping will be easier with those you already live with or are in a social bubble with. You could also hold an outdoor meet up and get everyone to bring a few bits along. 

Check out our Street Store guide with some helpful considerations on what a clothes swap might need.   

9) Trade your clothes for cash 

If you want to turn your old clothes into cash, it’s easy to do and there are lots of different options. Try EsookoDepop, Ebay, Vinted for vintage and second-hand high street clothing or Rethread,Hardly Ever Worn It, or  Vestiare for higher-end fashion. If an item is a bit faulty (missing button or the hem has fallen down), you can still sell it to someone who is willing to repair it. Just make sure to put all the wear and tear details in the description when you list the item. 

Children can seem to be growing faster than you can buy new clothes, which can leave a large pile of outgrown clothes still in good nick.Kidclooffers to resell them for you or donate the proceeds to charity.   

Hungry for more inspiration? 

If you want to cherish the clothes you're holding on to, there are simple ways to make them last longer, such as washing at a lower temperature and cutting down on ironing and tumble drying. 



Looking for more? Keen to try a new climate action?

Check out our list of the 12 most impactful actions you can take for the environment and your community. Let’s #MakeOurMove together.