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.

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.

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.

Why donate?

Why give all clothes, shoes, and linens for reuse or recycling?
Nearly 95 percent of the clothes, shoes, and linens that Americans toss into the garbage could have been recycled or reused.* Why fill landfills with these items when they still have value?

You may already donate your used clothing; now you can add your damaged clothes, and linens, and even single shoes, to the same bag and take it to one of the many organizations that accept these types of items.

Thrift stores, drop boxes, and others want it all and they make it easy
In the past, thrift stores, drop boxes and collection sites only accepted “gently used” items. But markets have changed, and now many accept items that are stained, holey, or damaged, or “singles” of items that are normally paired, such as shoes, socks, and gloves – as long as they are not wet, mildewed, or contaminated with hazardous materials. Some are reused, and some get recycled into new products.

Organizations that accept all clothes, shoes, and linens throughout Seattle and King County are easy to find.

Good for the planet
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 2.25 million tons of textiles were recycled in 2012 – this avoided annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 1.2 million cars on the road for one year.** You can be part of the solution by giving these items for reuse or recycling instead of throwing them away. So gather up your clothes, shoes, and linens – from your mismatched socks to your ripped t-shirts and old, faded sheets – and give them to a donation location near you.

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.

*Post-Consumer Textiles: King County LinkUp Research Summary Report Pg. 1
(PDF, 1.2 MB – King County, April 2014; rev. May 2015).

**Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2012 Pgs. 8 & 11
(PDF, external – U.S. EPA, 2012).