Throwing away clothes is never in style

Give your clothes a new life!

Give your clothes a new life through donation.

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In collaboration with Public Inc, we have created this video about the state of textile waste in Ontario and how citizens can learn to reuse unwanted clothes.

Why can’t I put my used clothing in the garbage?

Clothes are made of various fibres that fall into two groups – natural and synthetic. Natural fibres such as cotton, flax, hemp, wool and silk and cellulosic manmade fibers such as viscose (rayon), modal, or lyocell, or Tencel will eventually decompose, producing acid leachate and releasing greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide which contribute to climate change.

Synthetic fibers such as polyester, spandex, acrylic or nylon will never biodegrade. Like plastic, textiles made of synthetic fibers will fill up valuable space in our landfills and remain there forever.

Although we have plenty of opportunities to deal with unwanted clothing, too many are ending up in the garbage. This is a lost opportunity.

What do I do with clothes I no longer want or need?

We simply buy too much clothing – in fact 60% more today than we did 20 years ago, and we keep our clothes for half as long. This overconsumption, fueled by fast fashion, has led to a significant increase in the number of textiles showing up in our landfills. The most important thing we can do is BUY LESS and reduce the amount of clothing we consumer. But there are many other ways you can be a part of the solution!

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Ways to Divert Textile Waste

Donate

If you no longer have a use for your clothes, you can hand them down, repurpose into rags, or donate them to a charity or private collector. If you are donating, be sure that the items are clean, dry and odourless so that they do not cause contamination. Here are some resources for donating your unwanted clothes:

Clothing Donation Bins offer a convenient and easy way to donate clothing shoes, fashion accessories, bath and bed linens, as there are hundreds of bins located across the province in highly visible and accessible locations. Using a clothing donation bin allows you to donate on your schedule (not having to wait for a specific date through home pick up services). Many terrific charities operate these bins so not only do you get to declutter your closet but you are helping to fund their charitable missions.

The following are noteworthy organizations that have clothing donation bins in Ontario. Click to learn more about their program.

Having your unwanted clothing shoes, fashion accessories, bath and bed linens picked up at your house is a convenient service offered by several charities in Ontario. While usually not same day pick up (you can use a donation bin for that) you do get a scheduled day to place your bags of donated clothing and textiles on your front porch. Home pick up is good if you have a larger quantity of items and don’t want to take them to a clothing donation bin. Other small household items can also be included in your donation. Along with the environmental impact of keeping these materials from landfills, you are making a real social impact by supporting charities.

Here are some noteworthy charities that have do household pick up. Click to learn more. 

If you would like to see your organization listed here please Contact Us

In Ontario we have a variety of thrift stores that accept donated clothing, and some are widely known such as  Salvation Army Thrift StoreGoodwill, MCC Thrift Shops and Value Village who can take all textiles and find a new home or purpose for them.  

There are other small or local organizations that are looking for more specific items including:

If you would like to see your organization listed here please Contact Us
  • In the city of Toronto clothing and other textiles are collected at Community Environment Days. For a list and map of non-profit organizations that accept clothing and other textiles donations, visit toronto.ca/reuseit
 
  • Guelph residents can drop off textiles for free year-round at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre (WRIC), public drop-off (Gate 3). The WRIC is located at 110 Dunlop drive. Textiles include: gently used clothing, shoes and boots, purses and bags, belts and ties, blankets, sheets and pillows, towels, sleeping bags, draperies and curtains, plastic and stuff toys, yarn and materials. Alternatively, residents can participate in a twice-yearly Goods Exchange Program and place the textiles at the curb to exchange with the community. The online Waste Wizard tool and mobile Guelph Waste app provides an additional listing of locations where textiles can be donated (e.g. thrift stores, consignment locations).
We will be adding more information as we receive it from municipalities across Ontario.

Clothing Donation Bins offer the donor a convenient and easy way to donate clothing shoes, fashion accessories, bath and bed linens as there are hundreds of bins located across the province in highly visible and accessible locations. Using a clothing donation bin allows the donor to donate on their schedule (not having to wait for a specific date through home pick up services). Many terrific charities operate these bins so not only do you get to declutter your closet but you are helping to fund these charities missions.

Here are some noteworthy charities that have clothing donation bins in Ontario:

Having your unwanted clothing shoes, fashion accessories, bath and bed linens picked up at your house is a great service offered by several charities in Ontario. While usually not same day (you can use a donation bin for that) you do get a scheduled day to place your bags of donated clothing and textiles on your front porch for pick up. Home pick up is good if you have a larger quantity of items and don’t want to take them to a clothing donation bin. Other small household items can also be included in your donation. Along with the environmental impact of keeping these materials from landfills, you are making a real social impact by supporting charities.

Here are some noteworthy charities that have clothing donation bins in Ontario. Click on a link to see the full list of material accepted.

In Ontario we have a wide variety of charity or thrift stores that accommodate receiving donated clothing. Salvation Army, Goodwill and Value Village Stores have the ability to take any textiles and find a new home or purpose for them. You can find a list of stores near you by clicking one of the hyperlinks above or by inquiring with your favourite neighbourhood thrift store or charity.

  • In the city of Toronto clothing and other textiles are collected at Community Environment Days. For a list and map of non-profit organizations that accept clothing and other textiles donations, visit toronto.ca/reuseit
  • Guelph residents can drop off textiles for free year-round at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre (WRIC), public drop-off (Gate 3). The WRIC is located at 110 Dunlop drive. Textiles include: gently used clothing, shoes and boots, purses and bags, belts and ties, blankets, sheets and pillows, towels, sleeping bags, draperies and curtains, plastic and stuff toys, yarn and materials. Alternatively, residents can participate in a twice-yearly Goods Exchange Program and place the textiles at the curb to exchange with the community. The online Waste Wizard tool and mobile Guelph Waste app provides an additional listing of locations where textiles can be donated (e.g. thrift stores, consignment locations).

Resell your clothes

The second-hand market in Canada is booming and there are various ways for you to sell or trade your unwanted clothes through local consignment shops and online platforms such as Kijiji, Facebook groups and Bunz. This is especially good for those items that still hold a very high value and might seem hard to part with!

Retail Take Back

Bring your unwanted clothes back to a retailer and in some cases, receive a discount or reward. An increasing number of companies are offering take-back programs in their stores. Some are limited to one bag per person per day, while others only take garments back from their own brand. Some examples of retailers who are currently offering this service in Ontario include:

If you are familiar with another retailer who is accepting used clothing please Contact Us

Swap

Swapping is a new trend that allows you to exchange your unwanted clothes for new-to-you items. Get together with friends or bring together your community to exchange garments. At the end of a swap donate your leftover clothes. Swap events can be fun – like a treasure hunt, you never know what you might find!  While you can organize your own swap event on social media, different organizations also offer swap events or online toolkits that you can download:

If you are familiar with another organization who provides swapping resource please Contact Us

What else can I do to be a more Sustainable Fashion Citizen?

In order to help you remember the many ways for you to be a more conscious fashion consumer, Fashion Takes Action has created The 7R’s of Fashion: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle AND Research, Rent, Repair and Repurpose.

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