Family Life


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Cost-free ways to recycle your clothes

Sewing stuff - cost-free ways to recycle your clothesNinety-five per cent the amount of used clothing in landfill could be reworn, reused or recycled.

  • Pass along to
    your child as a
    painting smock
    or dress-up
  • Cut ripped or
    stained clothing
    into rags for
  • Use clothing
    for craft
    projects and
    DIY fashion. 
  • Donate to a
    charity like
    Goodwill or
    the Salvation
  • Host a clothing
    swap of outgrown
    items or pieces you’ve
    become bored of.
    You’ll get a whole
    new wardrobe!
  • Pool hand-me-downs with
    family and

An in-store solution

In February, Swedish multinational clothier
H&M became the first fashion retailer to
launch a worldwide garment collecting
initiative in response to the landfill problem.
Customers can bring any piece of used
clothing from any brand or in any condition
to select stores to be recycled or donated
to be reworn. For each bag of clothing
donated, shoppers will receive a voucher
for $5 off their next purchase of $30.
“Our sustainability efforts are rooted in a
dedication to social and environmental
responsibility,” says CEO Karl-John Persson.
Collected garments are handled by I:Collect,
which helps turn unwearable clothing into
products as diverse as insulation material,
cushioning for stuffed toys and shoe
insoles. In the long-term, H&M’s Conscious
Foundation aims to fi nd large-scale technical
solutions to the problem and create a closed
loop for textile fibres. For more information,

An online solution

If you’re looking to get rid of old clothes, or save money by buying used,
check out Perfect Threads Inc., an online used clothing store based in
Mississauga, Ont. It uses a fi ve-star rating system to identify the quality
of its clothing. Five stars are given to new items and one star for clothing
showing signs of excessive wear, such as rips, stains and odours.
One-star and slightly worn two-star clothing is donated to families and
organizations in need.

Perfect Threads encourages customers to follow the golden rule,
“Only send items you would be happy to receive,” says the website.

Clothing rated three stars and up is photographed and listed for sale.
This includes children’s clothing, and some great deals on designer duds
can be found.

Perfect Threads will ship you a donation bag and pick up your clothing
from anywhere in Canada, free of charge. Depending on the quality of
your donation, market demand and season, you may even get paid. A
portion of the proceeds from every sale goes to women’s shelters and
children’s charities. For more information, visit

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, April 2013.

a man carrying two children

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