The cycle up North Hill in Colchester town centre is a daunting one. But the problem becomes much worse when you realise – half way up – that your favourite pair of trousers have ripped at the seams.
I was resigned to buying a new pair but then I got to thinking. This year alone, we in Britain have thrown over 200million items of clothing into landfill – so I invested in a needle and thread instead.
As it goes, just about every bobbly jumper, torn bed sheet or stained shirt can find a better home than simply being tossed away. Here in Colchester just about any kind of fabric or textile material can put in one of our clear recycling bags on a Green Week, including any shoes. The only things that you can’t include are duvets, cushions, muddy/oily rags or paint sheets. See the full list of what you can include here.
Your recycled fabrics will take on a whole new life as seat stuffing, cleaning cloths or industrial fabric. If you’re reading this on the bus you might be sitting on what was once my old Led Zeppelin t-shirt.
What if you can’t quite bring yourself to recycle that misjudged pair of trainers but you’re sure you will never wear them, not in public at least? Don’t worry, you have a few options.
You could donate them to one of Colchester’s charity shops. These do a wonderful job of reselling your items, provided they are in reasonable condition, and raising money for a great cause. If you make a clothing donation, take the time to look around a bit. It’s cheaper for you and better for the environment to pick up your new threads second hand.
Or you can offer bits to your friends and family, you never know what they might need. Plus you get to watch them enjoy your old stuff safe in the knowledge you’ve made them happy and helped the planet.
By far the most fun to have recycling old textiles is to turn them into something new entirely. Try turning a favourite jumper into a cushion, fixing up an old backpack with some sparkly bits or turning an old sock into a toy for your cat. Sounds weird, but that’s what the awesome guys overs at loveyourclothes. They’re the people that showed me how to fix my little rip situation.
Of course, whilst it’s nice to know that the fabric in my trousers can be recycled, I reckon they have a few more quality miles yet.
So get inspired by old socks, excited about stinky shoes and as always remarkable recyclers, thanks for reading.