What Does The End of Life for Textiles Look Like?

Textiles and fabrics

What does “textiles” mean? Clothes? Towel? Blanket? You are right. We can call them textiles as long as the items are made from clothes or artificial fabrics. Textiles placed in landfills are a concerning environmental issue. Natural fibers can take years to decompose and can release greenhouse gases during the process. Synthetic textiles are designed not to decompose at any rate and can leach toxic substances into the soil and groundwater while in landfills. 

Furthermore, there’s one thing you need to know is that not all textiles can be recycled. According to Murphy (2022), the textiles that can be recycled typically either come from post-consumer (such as purses, garments, and towels) or pre-consumer sources (by-products of yarn and fabric manufacture). Based on the above reasons, recycling is not the only choice you can do. Other ways such as donating and reselling are good choices to bring your old textiles a new life. Additionally, you might hear of an exportation program or the take-back program from some apparel brands. These are practical options as well.

Let’s back to recycling. What will the old textiles become after being recycled? They could be manufactured again and turned into new clothes, paper, carpet padding, pillow stuffing, beds for pets, baseball filling, etc. Last but not least, don’t forget about “Reuse.” If you are not motivated enough to search for places to recycle, donate, or resell, you can have some DIY time to change the appearance of the old textiles. For instance, you can make a quilt from old t-shirts, make some clothe masks, and sew your old jeans into a tote bag! 


Murphy, L. (2022b, April 15). How to Recycle Textiles: Give New Life to Old Clothes. Treehugger. https://www.treehugger.com/textile-recycling-5203438

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