Give old clothes new life this spring
It’s no secret that we love clothes at Passion Lilie. We dream in dress designs; we live for classic silhouettes in handmade fabrics! Clothes are one of the most important ways that we express ourselves and show up in the world, but we know they can also take a toll on our environment. Because of that, Passion Lilie is committed to designing products that have a positive impact on the people who create them and minimizing our impact on the planet.
With sustainability at the forefront of our minds, we want to share a few tips we’ve learned for making the most out of your textiles, along with some of our favorite no-waste Passion Lilie pieces to make this new season even more special.
Why is recycling clothes important?
Imagine a garbage truck packed with clothes – some old, some never worn – tossing a full load of textiles into a landfill every second of every single day. Most of those garments will take years to decompose, and many will never decompose at all. Textiles made of natural fibers will release greenhouse gasses, while the synthetic fabrics that are the hallmark of fast fashion will seep toxic substances into nearby soil and groundwater. With 100 billion garments being produced each year, clothes are rapidly taking over our landfills and our planet.
So, what can we do about it?
First, evaluate the clothes in your closet. Use the age-old trick of asking yourself if you’ve worn each garment within the last year, or Kondo it up by holding the clothes in your hands and determining whether they spark joy. Whatever your preferred method, filter the clothes you’re ready to part into piles: donate, resell, reuse or recycle.
The Donate Pile
Find someone who can love or repurpose your textiles. Most cities have organizations like Goodwill or Salvation Army that can resell donated clothes in their second-hand stores. In New Orleans, Vietnam Veterans of America is an association that will actually pick up your donation from your front porch! It doesn’t get any easier than that. We recommend checking with your favorite local nonprofit to see if they can use what you have to donate. You may be surprised – even animal shelters have textile needs like old towels and blankets!
One organization we love is Free The Girls – if you have new or gently used bras, this would be a great place to consider donating them. Free The Girls focuses on reintegrating women who have been exploited by sex trafficking through micro-entrepreneurship. The organization can recycle your garments to help women establish their own small businesses, ultimately helping them meet their basic needs like food and shelter. The donation process is easy, and just think of the difference you can make with something taking up space in the back of a drawer!
The Resell Pile
With the world embracing second-hand fashion more whole heartedly by the day, reselling your textiles is another excellent option. Apps or online stores like eBay, thredUP, and Poshmark make selling clothes and other items as easy as a trip to the mailbox. Consignment and vintage stores are also good options for making a little bit of cash from your closet cleanup.
The Reuse Pile
There are plenty of other things you can do with unwanted clothes and textiles – it just might take a little creativity! Turn those old t-shirts from college into a t-shirt quilt, make pillows from dresses you no longer wear, or use extra fabric as furoshiki for wrapping gifts and treats. If you’re up for the challenge, you could even consider going paperless in the kitchen and turn old clothes into washrags and paper towel substitutes.
The Recycle Pile
At the end of the day, after you’ve evaluated your closet and sorted clothes into things you can donate, resell or reuse, there will be some items that don’t fall into any of the piles. Goodwill and many other organizations send unsellable clothing to recycling facilities, but you can skip the middleman and take your textiles to a nearby facility yourself, if you prefer.
One important thing to note is that dirt or food on old clothes can soil an entire batch of textiles in the recycling process and hurt the machines as well. Before you take your clothes to the recycling facility, please be sure to send them through a wash cycle at home!
Once you’ve put your old clothes in good hands, it’s time to think about how you can make sustainable fashion choices moving forward. Research brands before you buy and look for clothes that you’ll wear for a long time. Find shops that make their clothes from organic or recycled cotton or modal fabrics. Check out our Basil Organic Wrap Dress, for example. It’s a classic silhouette you can wear over and over, made with the softest organic jersey cotton.
When you find a brand you love, shout it from the rooftops! Eco-friendly small businesses like Passion Lilie work hard to ensure the pieces you love are made well and do good for people and ecosystems all over the world. We rely on your positive reviews to keep doing good work.
Passion Lilie’s Favorite No-Waste Products
Reducing our waste is a top priority for the Passion Lilie team, and our goal is to use every single scrap of the fabric our artisan team creates. With that mission in mind, we designed a set of products that turns unused fabric into beautiful things to help you live more sustainably. Check out some of our favorite no-waste options:
Cloth Napkins in Playful Blue: If you like the idea of going paperless in the kitchen, start with these beautiful blue napkins! They’ll instantly brighten up your table, making even a frozen meal from Trader Joe’s feel like a special occasion.
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