Where to Donate Clothing in Poor Condition
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Where to Donate Clothing in Poor Condition
Where to recycle damaged clothes
I'm accumulating a pile of clean, mostly cotton, but
ripped/holey clothing--not fit for resale in a thrift store.
What to do with these clothes? I'd like to avoid salvage
brokers that collect and ship such clothes to Africa for
resale, because I've heard this is destroying/has destroyed
the in-county textile industries. Goodwill says on their
website: 'Some member Goodwills recycle old clothing scraps
into industrial wipes (cleaning cloths) for industrial
buyers. Other items that are too damaged for retail sales
are sold to salvage brokers.' So, maybe, maybe not. Does
anyone know of a place to recycle unwearable clothing where
they will be funneled towards some use other than resale in
It may take a little extra effort, but there are artists who
work with textiles and old clothing, like the woman who owns
Multiple Threads, a little store on Solano (closing in
April--but she'll still be making clothes). Perhaps a call
to her for suggestions on where to unload the clothes you
have which can be repurposed? I'm a big fan, and
I love to see old clothes reused in artistic ways. Good
luck, and good for you for seeking a good place to donate
your still-useful items! Karen, North Berkeley neighbor
Donating or recycling damaged or stained clothing
I have a lot of old clothes which is not appropriate to sell at a Salvation Army or
Goodwill thrift shop (stains, tears, other damage.) Some of these items are high
quality cotton or natural fibers and I hate to see them go to landfill, and some might
make good scraps for crafters. Is there another avenue where these clothes can be
donated for re-use, recyling, or salvage?
Behind Ace Hardware on University Avenue (in their parking lot) there is a bin for ''textile
recyling''-you can put in clothes and linens that are too old/damaged to be reused.
Our K-8th school has a sewing class that uses re-purposed fabrics. It's in Berkeley on
University Ave. To donate call 665-8800 and ask to speak with Kyla. We may be able to pick it
The stopwaste website lists several places (mostly in alameda county) to take scrap
I believe that Waterside Workshops bicycle shop (at Aquatic Park in Berkley) recently
requested donations of old 100% cotton tee-shirts to use as rags; you should probably
check with them first, though, to see if they still need some. www.watersideworkshops.org
This may seem silly, but I am trying to declutter my house
and have a gigantic bag of old socks. I hate to just toss it
in the trash. Is there any use for old socks? Usually I give
old clothes to Goodwill, but many of these aren't usable
(not in pairs, have holes, etc.). I figure that they aren't
compostable due to the elastic content. Anyone have ideas
for a responsible way to get rid of them? What about other
clothes that are no longer usable even by charity?
Trying to declutter responsibly
they make great rags. wipe up a mess and throw them away
guilt free. You have used them manymanymany times as socks
and now you have 'repurposed' them for a second life as a
throw away rag. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Or, since I was
in Vietnam this summer: easy peasy Vietnameasy. You can
quote me on that although I stole it from a Latvian woman.
If they are 100 percent cotton you can compost them. sean
Perfect timing! Craigslist those socks for the St. Stupid's
Day Parade, coming up on April 1st. They are just what are
called for at the sock exchange part of the parade (on the
steps of the SF Stock Exchange)! brenna
What to do with old socks? Great question. The Berkeley
Free Clinic accepts donations of socks for the homeless and
low income persons. Especially during rainy inclement
weather, there is always a huge need. You might want to
check other shelters and clinics to see if they also have a
need. Donated many pairs over the years!
Recycling worn out clothing
Is it possible to recycle fabric, from clothing that is too
worn out to donate? If so, where? I've looked around and can
only find information for donating old sheets and towels to
animal shelters. Thanks! anon
The only thing I can help you with is cotton - it really is
compostable. If you have a home compost you can cut it into
small pieces and throw it in (I've done holey sheets and
worn out jeans). It does take awhile but definitely turns
into wonderful dirt. You could also put it in your green
bin. Just make sure it's 100% cotton or some other natural
Universal Waste Management in Oakland takes all kinds of
items for recycling. They do e-waste, clothing, textiles,
books, shoes. Their drop off hours our 8am - 4pm, 7 days a
week, but they usually have weekend drop off locations, such
as a DMV or BART parking lot, so check out their calendar
(Events), they may be near you on a weekend if you are
unable to get to their facility in Oakland. Here is a link
to the list of items they accept. Some of the items you do
need to pay to drop off, but many items are free.
I just discovered that there's a bin behind Berkeley Ace
Hardware for donating old clothes and shoes, presumably
including worn out ones. The relevant website is
www.berkeleyace.com/recycle.html and it has a link to the
organization that owns the bin. Evidently the clothes that
are still wearable are sent overseas and those that aren't
are stripped of their fasteners and recycled. If you google
clothes recycling then you'll find comments from people who
think that sending our clothes overseas is bad for the local
economies but I guess there are always trade-offs.
Recycling clothes/towels in so-so shape?
is there anywhere to recycle/give away things that are in
good enough shape to not throw away, but are items that
goodwill won't take. such as used underwear (obviously
worn, but clean and unstained) or towels that are perfectly
useable, but the seams have come undone? what about kids
jeans with wholes in the knees or clothes that are washed
out? i dress my kids in these, but i know others wouldn't.
i already have too many rags, so that's not helpful. what
do you do?
throw away or not?
not sure about the clothes (if they are done, I just put them in my recycle bin),
but towels would be welcomed by any pet shelter.
You can take these things to Universal Waste Management in
The pound is a perfect place to surrender your old towels.
They go toward helping dogs and cats feel safe and
comfortable. As far as your other clothing is concerned,
Salvation Army might be a good idea. I hear that they do
more to help people in need, than Goodwill. I'm sure that
whoever you volunteer it to will be so grateful.
Thanks for helping others.
How about posting it on Freecycle? Also, I would love to
have your towels for our upcoming home birth if you are in
the east bay!
Oakland SPCA for towels...there is a donation post in this weeks
Givn' threads to the doggies
Animal shelters can always use old towels for cleaning,
lining cages, etc.
As for clothes with a tiny spot or tear which would make
them unsellable at a charity resale shop with limited shop
space, I give them to a friend who volunteers at April
Showers, which serves homeless people. They mostly need
blue jeans, but can often use other clothing items.
I used to give clean but stained kids' clothes to our pre-
school in a bag labeled ''emergency go-home clothes &
clothes suitable to wear while painting and crafting.''
They were just somewhat disposable spare clothes that
anybody could take for any reason, like theirs were soiled/
wet/unsuitable for the day's activities.
I also like the freecycle idea. Personally, I think kids
need ''playclothes'' (pre-stained hand-me-downs they can
stain to their hearts content) but I'm in the minority.
Raising happy slobs
I'm in the process of cleaning out my kids' closets, and have a
pile of clothes that aren't in good enough shape to give away
to Goodwill, etc. (clothes with rips in the knees, stains,
etc.) Is there any place to drop them off -- perhaps someplace
that shreds them or otherwise re-uses them? I know places like
Goodwill and Salvation Army don't want clothes in poor
condition, but it seems so wasteful to literally toss these in
I think I've posted this before, but - I put all kinds of scrap
fabric including torn clothing, single socks, trimmings from
sewing, etc. in a bag, clearly label it ''Textile Scrap'', tie
it up and give to Goodwill. I believe they add it to their
rejects which get sold to make carpet underlayment, etc.
I wanted to correct the recent response that indicated that the
Goodwill takes clothing scraps-- this is not the case. I have recently
learned that the Goodwill only wants clothes in saleable condition and
that they actually have to pay someone to dispose of rags. I confirmed
this with the folks who run the Stop Waste website (though they have
not updated their guide yet). So please, don't donate these things to
I just gave a lot of clothing that was unwearable because of stains or
holes to the Oakland Zoo education center. They use it for animal
enrichment activities. Don't forget also that each member of your
family should have at least one set of warm-weather and one set of
cold-weather clothes with your earthquake or other emergency supply
box. You may want to keep some of the otherwise unwearable clothing
for that purpose.
My son is outgrowing his clothes (duh). Anyway, as he gets older I'm
finding that the clothes are increasingly stained, ripped, torn, and
otherwise in pretty bad shape by the time he outgrows them. What can I
say? He's active. Anyway, it doesn't make sense to donate the clothes
to a shelter or other charitable organization. At the same time, I
feel bad about dumping the clothes in a landfill. Does anyone know of
a place where I can recycle the clothes? Thanks!
I highly recommend selling them to Grove Street Kids in Berkeley. It
is located on the corner of MLK and Virginia. She either pays cash
(40% of retail value) or trades (60% of retail value) for kids
clothing. It is a fantastic store: clean, organized, and well-priced.
Plus, she often has a $1 rack! She also offers a frequent buyer
discount program: spend $100, get 15% off.
Goodwill accepts ''textile scrap'', which I believe is used to make
carpet padding. I usually put it into a big paper shopping bag, tie up
the handle and label it ''textile scrap'' in big bold letters. I'll
never know if they actually recycle it or toss it in the landfill, but
it's the best I can find.
I think you can leave torn (but not badly stained) clothing and textile scraps
in the green Gaia boxes you see around town. You can read more about their
program at http://www.cctg.org/TextPage.asp?MenuItemID=42&SubMenuItemID=121.
They also take clothing in good condition, too, of course.
You can also find a couple options if you search for ''Clothing
Scraps/Remnants'' on stopwaste.org.
Before taking your old children's clothing to the green Gaia bins
around town, you might want to check out these articles:
You can google Campus California TG and find more articles about
them. The organization has been investigated for ''fiscal
improprieties,'' is described as a ''nonreligious cult,'' and --
contrary to what CCTG claims -- gives almost none of the clothing
revenue to anyone in developing countries.
Choosing Charities Carefully
Look into freecycling.org. The organization is community based. One basic
rule: everything you post must be for free.
I live in Alameda and have successfully donated/recycled used carpet padding,
my kids' outgrown clothes etc. I highly recommend this work. I'm sure Berkeley
I too have been searching for a way to recycle clothing that is
no longer wearable (stained, ripped etc).
Alas, the advice that was posted here about Goodwill recycling
non-wearable clothing and other scrap fabric is incorrect,
although it also appears on Alameda county's stopwaste.org web
site and was perpetuated in a SF Chronicle article about
recycling that appeared during the past year. I checked with
Goodwill both last year and again after the BPN posting - they
confirmed that non-wearable clothing goes into the garbage.
The stopwaste.org people I spoke to last year were not able to
offer any viable suggestions. Two other organizations I called
(East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use, and a similar organization
in SF) adamantly said they do not take clothing, even though the
scrap fabric could be used in art projects etc. The SF
organization said they don't need to take scrap fabric because
they get enough fabric in bolt form.
The suggestions posted on BPN about the Gaia boxes may be a
possibility. Gaia apparently sells bundles of the clothing they
receive, so there is a possibility that the non-wearable stuff
gets reclaimed and recycled as fiber. There is some controversy
about Gaia's charitable legitimacy. see
or look them up on Google.
What do people do with old clothing that is torn, stained or just worn
out? Is there anywhere to donate it where the clothes can be used for the
material? I'd rather not throw it in the trash and I have plenty of old
T-shirts to use for cleaning. Thanks.
Check this out. I have seen their big green boxes around.
I think I have also seen a box somewhere on MKL in Berkeley near the
Tuesday Farmers Market.
We have a million old decripit t-shirts. They are not good
enough to give to charity and I don't need that many dust rags.
Any suggestions on what to do with them?
Try your local animal shelter. We donate old towel, cotton
clothing with stain, and other clothing that cannot be reuse, to
the animal shelter in Fremont. They need material to make
bedding for the animal or to dry them after a bath.
I'm wondering if there's any place/business that RECYCLES old clothes. I'm getting ready to clear out lots of closets, and I have tons of ''chore'' clothes (torn and stained, mostly cotton-knit stuff like t-shirts, underwear and socks). These are not something I would give to Goodwill, but I don't want to put them in the gargage either. (And I already have a huge stockpile of rags!)
You could always dump them off in the 'free' box at People's
Park. (I believe it still exists) That's the 'reuse' in the
recycle trilogy! :)
Where does one donate used-but-useable
clothing? Someone pointed out that we should NOT donate
worn/torn clothes to Goodwill, etc, but what to do with these
items? For example, Gymboree leggings w/ a hole in the knee (and
no, I won't get around to patching it... I SHOULD, but I admit
that I just don't have the time to mend). Anyone have
suggestions about what to do w/ used-but-usable kids clothes?
Seems like such a waste to make scraps out of them... Thanks,
If you know anyone on the Tiny Tots Diaper Service, their
drivers pick up donations of old clothes, or better ones, toys,
etc. from the porch of the family. Put the items in a sturdy
garbage bag, label visibly: ''You Are Special''. These items go
to help families who are desperate. You can send pants with a
hole in the knee. Since the Salvation Army on Solano Ave
closed, I was glad to find out about this one.
ECAP (Emeryville Community Action Program)is a wonderful
program that gives away cloths to homeless and poor families.
They are completely non-profit and get very little funding.
They are located on San Pablo near a freeway overpass in
Emeryville. I don't know the address, but there is a ''Doug's
BBQ'' next store that is more noticable. We take everything
except junk there!
I've finally faced up to the fact that I'm just never going to get
around to patching those faded old jeans, mending the hole in that
ragged sweater, stitching that torn seam, etc. In other words, I'm
trying to get past that depression-era mentality that tells me to
never get rid of *anything* that I *might* be able to use someday.
So, my question is: is there anyplace to donate stuff that's *not*
in usable condition, or should I just (horrors!) throw it in the
trash? I've actually also got non-clothing, non-essential items that
don't necessarily need repair, but are just old and extremely faded
(e.g. drapes)...same question: is there anyplace that would want these?
i recommend dropping off the not-so-good clothing (and blankets and towels)
to People's Park. Drive down Haste right before you get to Telegraph. There
is a big brown "dumpster" there. Actually, if you pull over, folks will come over to your car and take things from you without having to park, get out, etc. and, they really appreciate your donations.
Try calling the Ecology Center in Berkeley or Urban Ore (also in
Berkeley). Both have been great resources for where to get rid of
stuff I had questions about.
When I lived in San Jose they would accept textiles for recycling,
but I don't know where they went from there. Bedding and towels,
if washable, might be welcome at the ASPCA or an animal hospital for
use in animal cages. Something like drapes might be welcome in a
theatre for costume/set materials.
Garments with holes worn through are most probematic. I finally cut
up a bunch of old shirts into a) rags to use in cleaning/crafts b) colars
and so forth that just had to be discarded. My advice is to forgive urself
and let it go. Now if I just could follow that advice...
A lot of textiles donated to places like goodwill, salvation army
will end up as scrap, whihc they sell. They don't require "useable"
You might want to have a small garage sale for starters. I know a lot of
women who quilt who have no problem buying torn jeans as it's the fabric
they want, not the clothes. All 100% cottons are great for this. I've seen
these women go to garage sales just to buy up cottons for cutting up. They
get some unusual quilts that way, make for more homey looking scrap ones. Or see if there isn't some quilting guild around you that wants the clothes. As far as the other items, try good will anyway. If they are just old, but still usable, someone may want them.
I wanted to chime in on the donation thing, as I work in recycling. Please
do not donated torn or stained clothing to the charity thrifts (Goodwill,
Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul.) They only want items in saleable
condition. While it is true that they do recycle or scrap out unsaleable
items, it is very expensive for them to handle clothes that are not saleable
and it costs them money.
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