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4 Ways to Eliminate Textile Waste

Textile Waste

According to the County of San Diego, Americans generated 32 billion pounds of textile discards in 2015. Textiles make up around 6% of all municipal solid waste generated in the U.S. Tossing textiles in the trash unnecessarily fills our local landfills and wastes the resources that went into making them including vast amounts of water, energy, land and other resources.

What is a textile? Textiles can be items of clothing, homegoods, or fabrics that are made from woven material or fibers.

1. REDUCE – Become a minimalist

  • Reduce your consumption of textiles, new clothes, and accessories by reducing what you purchase! The less we purchase the less we have to manage as waste at the end of that product’s useful life. Read more about the benefits of becoming a minimalist here
  • Check out this practical guide to owning fewer clothes

2. REPAIR – Repair as much as possible

  • Did your favorite shirt loose a button? Consider learning how to sew a button back onto that top rather than buying a new piece of clothing to replace it
  • Not sure how to mend, sew, or repair textiles? Visit one of I Love a Clean San Diego’s upcoming FIX-IT! Repair & Reuse Workshops

3. REUSE – Upcycle, Thrift, or Swap

4. RECYCLE – Donating can lead to recycling

  • Turn all your hangers in your closet backwards. When you wear something, turn the hanger the correct way. After a year, if anything is still hanging backwards, donate it. Donate to a local organization and support a cause; search “Textiles/Clothing” on for locations
  • If your item of clothing is unusable, consider sending them to a textile-recycling program
  • Check out this donation bin field guide to learn the difference between a donation bin versus a for-profit bin
  • Some retailers will recycle for you H&M, Patagonia, Nike, Madewell, The North Face, Levi’s + more!

Visit to learn more about reduce, reuse, recycling centers, events, and resources in your area.