Threadcycle, and keep unwearable clothing out of the landfill!

King County and Seattle Public Utilities have teamed with used clothing collectors to keep damaged clothes and linens out of the landfill!  The Threadcycle campaign encourages people to donate all clothes, shoes, and linens for reuse or recycling.

Threadcycle is a joint effort to reduce the estimated 40,000 tons of clothes, shoes and linens that area residents and businesses send to landfills each year.  The campaign, which partners with seven area organizations that collect used clothes, shoes and linens for reuse or recycling, aims to educate the public about the wide range of conditions in which those items are accepted.

“People are accustomed to hearing that only ‘gently used’ items can be given to thrift stores and drop boxes – many don’t know that they can give damaged clothes and linens, or even single shoes and socks, which will either be reused, or recycled and used to make new products,” said Kris Beatty, program manager for King County Solid Waste Division.

“The good news is that recycling markets are strong for these post-consumer textiles, and many collectors in our area want more textiles,” Beatty said.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing per year; up to 95 percent of the used clothes, shoes and linens thrown in the garbage could have been reused or recycled.  To give new life to these materials and decrease the amount of textiles that end up in landfills, the Threadcycle campaign is partnering with seven organizations and businesses to educate the public.

Campaign partners who accept clothes, shoes and linens in any condition except wet, mildewed, or contaminated with hazardous materials are: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Seattle Goodwill, Northwest Center, Salvation Army Family Thrift Stores, TexGreen, USAgain, and Value Village.

“Every day, recyclable and reusable clothes, shoes, and linens end up in the garbage due to the misconception that thrift stores and other collectors will only accept resalable items,” said Liz Fikejs, conservation program manager for Seattle Public Utilities. “By giving away these items instead of throwing them away, we can conserve valuable resources and keep a significant amount of waste out of landfills.”

To learn more about Threadcycle, what items can be given for reuse or recycling, and where or how to donate, go here.

Top Tips: How to Threadcycle

Here are our top tips to ensure your clothes, shoes, and linens have a second life:

1. Give ALL your clothes, shoes and linens – even the sadly torn and badly worn. These items aren’t garbage anymore – give it ALL for reuse or recycling.

2. Give your single socks, shoes, gloves and other “orphan” items that are normally paired.  Collectors will happily take them.

3. Many other items can be given in ANY condition, including stuffed animals, purses, belts, and other accessories. For the full list, go here and click on Acceptable items.

4. Know the exceptions to the rule: Don’t give items that are wet, mildewed, or soiled with hazardous materials. These items can contaminate an entire load of usable items, or present a safety hazard.

5. Know where to give—it’s easy! Collection options are easy to find and may be closer than you think.  They include drop boxes, thrift stores, stationary collection trailers, scheduled pick-up, and special collection events. See the list of Threadcycle collection partners.

6. Clothes, shoes, and linens do NOT go into local curbside recycling carts. These items can jam up machinery in traditional recycling facilities. The exceptions to this are in Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Carnation, Issaquah, Maple Valley, and SeaTac, which have special programs that take clothing at curbside following specific guidelines.

7. Buy wisely. You can save resources by purchasing quality, durable items in classic styles, supporting second hand stores, and buying only what you need.

updated 1/11/2018