If you’re having a clear-out of your room, garden shed or even the whole house, you might need the services of a rubbish removal company like Clearabee. Clothes are something that we discard regularly, but what are the consequences if they are thrown into the dustbin?
What happens to clothes in landfills?
When old or unwanted clothes are taken to landfills, natural fibres can decompose in 6-12 months given the right conditions. However, many of our clothes nowadays are made from man-made materials like polyester which can take hundreds of years to decompose.
During their decomposition, the durable dyes used in their manufacture leach into the landfill. Composed of highly-toxic chemicals, these leachates could even reach the water table.
They also emit methane as they decompose. This is a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide in the way it traps heat in the atmosphere.
So, what is an environmentally safe way to get rid of unwanted clothes?
6 alternatives to rubbish removal to landfills
WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) estimate that we can reduce the environmental impact of unwanted clothes by 20-30% if their use were extended by 9 months.
They also estimate that an astounding £140 million worth of clothes is dumped into landfills in the UK every year. Instead of doing this, you could do one or more of the following:
- Re-sell: Whether you prefer selling online or by taking part in a car boot sale, clothes you might have grown bored of will definitely appeal to others. You’d be surprised by how many people love paying a fraction of the retail price and as an extra bonus, you could make some cash too.
- Organise clothes swap: Arrange an evening at home with family, friends, neighbours and/or colleagues and ask everyone to bring the clothes they no longer wear – they could be unwanted gifts or impulse buys. Swap your unwanted clothes for other people’s and renew your wardrobe.
- Re-fashion out-of-date items: You don’t have to be an expert seamstress to re-fashion older clothes. There are plenty of websites with creative ideas about how to turn, for example, old jeans into beach bags or old textiles into quilts. You could create something for yourself or give as original presents.
- Donating unwanted clothes: As long as they’re in good condition, charity shops and jumble sales always welcome donations of clothes to raise funds, or you could donate them to local charities working with the homeless, for example.
- Reuse old clothes: If your clothes aren’t in good condition, don’t think that rubbish removal is their only possible destination. Instead, make use of them at home. From dusters to cloths to wipe the windscreen, they will always come in handy.
- Textile recycling: Only an estimated 1% of clothes worldwide are recycled into new textiles. This is because it’s a labour-intensive, expensive and complicated process. If there are no facilities for textile recycling near you, check whether local upholsterers or manufacturers might need old clothes for filling cushions, etc.
According to WRAP, you can make a net saving on greenhouse gas emissions the equivalent of 11 tonnes of CO2 simply by reusing and/or donating unwanted clothes.
The benefits of Clearabee rubbish removal service
As you can appreciate, there are plenty of ways to dispose of rubbish which are more environmentally friendly. Alternatively, you could use the services of a rubbish removal company like Clearabee. Fast, economical and convenient – but above all, eco-friendly – 90% of the rubbish they collect is diverted from landfills.