What to Do with Your Clothes That Can't Be Repaired or Donated

Wearwell Co-founder, Emily Kenney, shares her tips and solutions on how to responsibly recycle your clothing that cannot be repaired or donated.  

If you’re like me, you’re on a mission to live more sustainably. We all know the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling, but when it comes to clothing, recycling can be a bit tricky. That's why we're here to guide you through the world of fabric recycling and show you some easy ways to responsibly recycle your beloved garments. Read on for my 3 go-to tips to help you give a new life to your clothes. Let's dive in!

Mending and Tailoring to Upcycle | Wearwell sustainable, ethical clothing and accessories
Get Into Upcycling and DIY

When your clothes are beyond repair or donation, why not get your creative juices flowing and turn them into something entirely new? Upcycling is a fantastic way to breathe new life into old garments and unleash your inner fashion designer. But don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to sew if that’s not your thing! 

My favorite DIY tricks to transform a t-shirt:

  • Cut a few inches off the bottom hemline to turn it into a breezy, boxy crop top! You can finish the hem with some simple stitching or leave it unfinished for a more casual look.
  • Dye it with natural dyes to give it a fresh, new shade. So many everyday items, like spinach, black beans, and avocado pits, can be used to dye fabrics. Use this handy how-to guide for inspiration!


@climatediva Dyeing with leftover spinach ♻️🍃 which natural dye should I try next? #slowfashion #naturaldye #diy #handdye ♬ Clair de lune/Debussy - もつ


  • Transform that worn-out t-shirt and hide holes or stains by adding some embellishments with decals or cross-stitching (like this embroidery that I love so much). Get a little crafty and have fun with it!
Find Clothing Resale Programs

Take advantage of clothing resale and recycling programs at the brands you shop with. These initiatives are one of the easiest ways to give your clothes a chance at a second life. Some brands have drop-off locations or even provide prepaid shipping labels to make the process extra convenient.

Here at wearwell, check out our wearwellagain program for a take-back program that includes rewards. Have used wearwell clothing and accessories you’re looking to recycle? Request a free shipping label and earn a discount on your next purchase! We’ll take care of getting your gently used items into a new closet and responsibly donating the rest. By participating in wearwellagain or similar programs at other brands, you actively contribute to the circular fashion economy and help reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. 

Textiles in Basket | Wearwell again, secondhand sustainable clothing and accessories
Donate to Textile Recycling Centers 

Still have a few items that can’t be salvaged or resold? Textile recycling centers are here to save the day. These centers specialize in collecting and recycling textiles, ensuring that even the most damaged clothing can be repurposed.

Look for local textile recycling centers or organizations that accept fabric donations. They'll have the expertise to sort through different types of fabrics and determine the best way to recycle or repurpose them. (My favorite textile recycling spot is FABSCRAP, one of wearwell’s non-profit partners and a local Philly favorite for team volunteering.) Your old clothing can be transformed into insulation, cleaning cloths, or even new yarn for knitting enthusiasts, diverting textiles from landfills and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Looking for more ways to shop more sustainably and support circularity? Shop our wearwellagain Secondhand and Zero-Waste + Upcycled collections to build your most sustainable wardrobe yet.

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