A Guide to Disposing of Your Old Things Sustainably

This post was written for Fashion Journal.


Avoiding the perils of landfill.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty years, you’ll be familiar with the perils of landfill. We’ve got masses of waste building up in dumps and floating in the ocean with nowhere to go. It’s a sickening image. What’s a girl to do with all her useless old things, though?

Many eco-blogs promise “35 Ways to Recycle Your Old T-Shirt”, but I’m not prepared to turn my home into a haven of planters made from old shoes and bedsheet dresses. (I pray I’ll never be one of those people). 

These are the less dowdy alternatives to dealing with well-worn wardrobe situations.

You’ve smashed your Nikes

And it’s time for a new pair. If your new shoes are still in a somewhat good condition, devoid of holes, consider Shoes For Planet Earth. The organisation distributes footwear in the local area of collection, supporting homeless and community centres for the disadvantaged. Check out their website to find the collection point closest to you. Better they are worn by someone in need than act as a dying herb receptacle. 

You’ve tattered all your T-shirts

With a wardrobe motto of wearing things to death, T-shirts are only deemed done once they’re tattered with holes and fraying edges. They’re unwearable until an emo fashion resurgence, which is where my new favourite website comes in handy. Find an organisation in your local area that collects worn tees to create industrial rags. 

Short of that, H&M readily accept all your old garments. Drop them off in-store, and your old faves will either be sorted for re-wear, reuse (turned into cleaning cloths) or recycled (creating new textile fabrics for insulation etc.). 

You’ve upgraded to linen or bamboo sheets

Your old cotton sheets are much sought-after cleaning cloths, bedding and cage linings at animal shelters. Sigh, so heart-warming. Donate old sheets and towels to a local animal shelter or the RSPCA to help a puppy have a comfortable nights’ sleep. Apartment living might restrict us adopting them; the least we can do is give them a little love and sweet dreams via our old threads.

You’ve outgrown your bras

Woman problems, amiright? Hormones, babies, weight loss, weight gain: our boobs are temperamental, re-sizable beings.

If you have a few unwanted bras, still in good condition, check out Uplift Bras. Bras are an expensive, yet necessary, evil for most women, so your pre-loved boob-holders are sent to those in need. With collection points all around the country, pieces support women in the Pacific and Asia as well as locally in Australia.

You’ve amassed a collection of glasses

My mum once told me to hold onto my old glasses “just in case”. I took this too literally. As a primary school four-eyes, I managed to amass at least five pairs (mostly Harry Potter style, #coolkid) until I finally decided to let them go last year. I swear I’m not a hoarder.

Recycling for Sight was my solution, refurbishing old glasses and redistributing them to men, women and children in areas all across the world. So far over 7 million pairs have been passed on to those in need. If you’re lucky, your local optometrist may collect them for you, otherwise post them directly to the Lions Club in Queensland. Haunting blind child memories will be but a distant memory passed on to give another a clearer future.

Use and abuse these go-to tips and let’s see how our world changes. It’s counting on us. 

Image via here

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