Planet Ark News

Your Fashion Footprint

Date: 24-Apr-15
Author: Emily Donnelly

Donate your old clothes! © Emily Donnelly

Donate your old clothes!


Fashion fever is all around us at the moment with Fashion Week coming to a close as well as the release of the Australian Fashion Report 2015.

The Australian Fashion Report detailed a report card for almost 100 Aussie brands, assessing each organisation's efforts to protect their workers in its supply chain. High scoring brands were Fairtrade companies such as Etiko, Audrey Blue and non-Fairtrade company the Cotton On Group.  

But with fashion flying all over the place it's a great time to think about your wardrobe. What's in there? What can you reuse, recycle or donate and where are the best places to take them?  

Getting rid of usable clothes is as simple as putting them in a charity donation bin at a supermarket, church or council building. But what do you do if you are confronted with a pile of clothes that are ‘undonate-able'? What if they have too many holes to be fashionable and just aren't good enough to giveaway? Placing these items in the bin means they end up in landfill, which represents a great waste and no one wants that!

The good news is that one of the biggest clothing brands in the world is helping you do something about it, if you live in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. The clothing retailer H&M runs a Garment Collection programme, available in their Australian Stores. They will accept all unwanted garments (from any brand in any condition), which will be reused, repurposed or recycled at their cost.

One of Many

This new program joins the many clothes reuse and recycling options available around Australia, such as King Cotton, which is in partnership with the Make a Wish Foundation and has clothing bins in many Westfield shopping centres where clothes can be dropped off. 

The Salvos, The Smith Family and the Endeavour Foundation are just three of the long-running charity organisations that keep good quality clothes circulating through society and doing good along the way. 

Looking for reuse and recycling options for clothes is one of the most common reasons for visits Planet Ark's RecyclingNearYou website and hotline 91300 733 712).   

Even More Options

If you find that you are STILL struggling to get rid of your old clothes, other options include:

  • Make your own cleaning rags
  • Turn old towels and blankets into pet bedding for your cat or dog (they will love you unconditionally if you do!) or donate them to an animal shelter
  • Host a swap party with your friends or family
  • Cut up garments made from natural fibres (such as wool, cotton or silk) into small strips and pieces and place them in your compost bin
  • Make new garments out of the old if you're handy with a sewing machine and have an eye for design, or better yet, teach yourself how!

Shop Ethically

If you find you're successful in donating or recycling your old clothes but have the itch to shop again, consider doing some research and looking into brands who are accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and do an audit on your wardrobe to see what you actually need!

The ECA have a list of accredited brands on its website that can help guide you through the shopping centre. Listing brands across women's fashion, babies and children, outdoor and sportswear, corporate and work clothing and school uniforms.

Looking for ‘fair trade' certification and the Australian Made logo can also help you make your fashion purchases.

Emily                                             Donnelly

Author: Emily Donnelly

Emily worked in Planet Ark's media team from 2014 to 2015 after working in technology, business and corporate communications for Ogilvy PR and Howoth Communications in Sydney. As someone who is passionate about the environment, politics, traveling and food, Emily loves helping to engage Australian media in Planet Ark's essential campaigns.
  • Recycling Week
  • Business Recycling
  • recycling Near You
  • Make It Wood
  • Tree Day
  • Cartridges for Planet Ark