Hard Waste

Clothing

A lot of clothing and textile waste ends up in landfill, but there are ways to reduce your fashion footprint.

Australians send around $500 million in fashion clothing to the tip each year. More than 95 per cent of this can be recycled or reused.

The fashion industry contributes to around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production. The industry consumes more energy than the international flights and shipping industry combined. Read more about this issue.

Textiles are the most carbon-intensive material per tonne, so small change can have a big impact. Here are some ways to reduce, reuse and recycle unwanted clothing.

Avoid

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you really need what you're buying?
  • Can you rent, borrow or swap clothing?
  • Will you wear the clothes much?

Renting and borrowing are great for one-off events like weddings. Online platforms like The Volte can connect you to lenders of clothes for special occasions. That way you can look great while spending less.

Cost is also important. A new $10 shirt is probably low-quality and/or fast fashion, so it won't last long and will end up in landfill. Considering how much you'd like to be paid to make an item is a good test of its quality.

Reduce

If you asked the above questions and still want to buy new clothes, check that they were made with ethical and environmental considerations. Here are some good questions:

  • Are the people who made your clothes paid and treated fairly?
  • Where was the clothing made?
  • Is the clothing made from natural fibres like cotton, bamboo, wool or denim, or fossil fuel-based fibres like plastics, polyester and nylon?

Reuse

Here are some great ways to reuse clothes and minimise your fashion footprint:

Explore our interactive Sustainable Darebin Map for places to borrow, share, donate, and buy and fix second-hand items.

What to do with my unwanted clothes

Before sending them to landfill, consider the following:

  • Sell – You can sell your clothes through:
    - Various online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and The Uniform Exchange
    - Consignment stores such as Mutual Muse and Use-Ta!
  • Donate – You can donate in store to local op shops in Darebin. The funds raised from selling your second-hand items help improve social outcomes and support people who experience disadvantage. Ensure your items are in good condition. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some op shops may be closed. Remember - leaving items outside op shops when they are closed, or leaving items next to donation bins, is considered illegal dumping and fines may apply. To ensure that your donation helps the community in need, hold on to your generous donations until our op shops reopen.
    Alternatively, give away your clothes to friends and family, or by using online platforms such as Good Karma Networks. Follow this link to find a network near you.
    Other clothing donation programs:
    • Dress For Success and Fitted For Work are both programs that help women experiencing disadvantage to find work and keep it
    • Shoes For Planet Earth is a non-profit organisation that works with local and international communities and companies to provide reused running shoes to those in need around the world
  • Upcycle – Get creative and revamp your wardrobe or find alternative uses for pre-loved clothes
  • Send your unwanted textiles to Upparel so they can be reused, upcycled, or recycled
  • Foot wear recycling - Drop off your pre-loved sports shoes at one of the participating retail stores of the ASGA Save Our Soles Footwear Recycling Initiative

Clothes that have reached their end of life can be composted in your home compost if they are natural fibres. Otherwise, they should be placed in the general waste bin.