Textile and Clothes Recycling
Recycling old clothes and textiles is a responsible and green way for all sorts of UK businesses to dispose of fabric and clothing waste. Manufacturers, retailers, and other industries produce a variety of textile waste that requires proper disposal. Arrange fabric, textile, and clothing waste collection for recycling and disposal with Business Waste, wherever your business is located, anywhere in the UK.
Sadly, lots of clothes end up in landfill. In many cases this is avoidable, as recycling fabric scraps, textiles, and full items of clothing is possible. As a business, it’s your responsibility to get rid of such waste in as environmentally friendly a way as possible. Call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online for a free quote or to arrange waste textile collection today.
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Get a fast FREE quote for textile recycling
- Free quote within 1 hr
- Any type of textile waste
- FREE bins and delivery
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Textile and clothes
Arrange textiles, fabric, and clothes recycling collection with Business Waste. We take the stress out of old clothes recycling by providing an effective service that helps the environment and your business. Recycling old clothes and other materials benefits the planet while avoiding landfill tax at the same time.
We’ll provide you with free textile bins for you to fill with your waste – just pay for collection. Make sure your waste is clean and dry where possible and stick to the weight limits of the clothing bins you use. After collection it’ll be sorted and recycled or reused in the most appropriate and environmentally friendly manner.
You can organise textile recycling collection as a one-off or on a daily, weekly, or fortnightly schedule if you generate a lot of fabric waste. Plus, we can provide you with more than one of the same or different sizes of textile bins to suit your waste and textile recycling needs.
Call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online for a free quote for textile and clothes recycling collection. Our team will happily answer any questions you have and advise on the best bins, collection schedule and services to suit your textile waste recycling needs.
textile waste disposal?
The fashion industry is one of the worst culprits for producing clothing waste thanks to the rise of ‘fast fashion.’ This is the practice of making new clothes and accessories available as quickly and cheaply as possible. The ready availability encourages customers to buy more clothes more often.
However, the lower costs usually come with a decrease in quality. This means consumers are forced to dispose of clothes more often, so they’re caught in an endless loop of buying cheap clothes that don’t last. The manufacturing process also generates a lot of textile waste.
It’s not just fashion companies that regularly require textile waste disposal. It can affect a variety of businesses, such as:
- Factories – manufacturing can produce fabric scraps and offcuts for disposal
- Fashion houses – recalled products, mistakes, outdated and obsolete stock
- Hotels – damaged and waste bedsheets, curtains, and cloths
- Retailers – unsold or damaged clothing, bedclothes, and textiles
- Schools – broken or old sports equipment, curtains, and other textiles
How does textile and clothes
recycling collection work?
Select your free bins
It’s quick and easy to organise commercial waste collection for your business.
Simply start by telling us the:
- Type of waste you need removing
- Size of bins you require
- Number of bins you want
We’ll provide you with a free quote.
When you’re happy with the type, number, and size of free bins, tell us when you need your bins delivering.
Let us know about any access issues where you want the bins delivering – such as locked gates, access codes and times. We’ll get you up and running in no time.
Fill up your bin
After the free bins arrive at your chosen location, fill them up with the agreed waste type.
Make sure you remain within any weight limits for the specific waste type and bin size.
Get your business waste collected
We’ll arrange waste collection at a time and frequency to suit you and the amount of waste you have.
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Textile waste includes anything spun, woven, or knitted from either natural or artificial fibres that’s no longer needed. During every stage of production there’s potential to generate textile and fabric waste – from spinning and weaving to the finished product. Full articles of clothing, offcuts and scraps from manufacturing apparel, bedding, fabric home furnishings and more can all class as textile waste.
Clothing waste makes up the bulk of textile refuse. This can be from households and businesses that have damaged, old, or just unwanted garments they need to dispose of. These can be made from a wide range of textiles and materials, which affects how they’re recycled or disposed.
Examples of textile waste can include:
How to dispose of
clothes and textiles
There’s currently no penalty for sending fabric to landfill. In June 2019, the UK government rejected a proposal to ban textiles from landfill entirely. While councils introduced some fabric recycling points, they’re not as common as recycling points for other waste such as plastic and cardboard. Instead, government efforts focus on encouraging reuse and recycling.
The easiest and greenest way to dispose of clothes and textiles is to offer them for reuse. As long as they’re in a good enough condition, donating to a charity should ensure they’re reused in pretty much their current state. This could mean being sold in a charity shop or given to people in need. When donating to charity as a business, ensure you fill in the appropriate paperwork and follow any relevant guidelines and regulations.
The other main option to dispose of clothes and textiles is to arrange collection by a licenced waste carrier, such as with Business Waste. Store your waste textiles in appropriate bins on your premises and authorised carriers can collect and transport them to an appropriate waste facility for fabric recycling.
Where possible, make sure any clothes and textiles you dispose of are clean and dry before you place in storage for collection. This helps remove any potential contaminants and ensures the fibres are in as good a condition as possible for recycling. It also reduces the chance of contaminants interfering with recycling machinery and causing a problem.
What happens to
recycled clothes and textiles?
What happens to recycled clothes and textiles depends on how you get rid of them. Any deemed wearable that you donate to charity shops should be resold. Those thrown in a textile bank may be resold as they are to foreign countries for their used clothes markets, while some will be redistributed to those in need.
Any fabric and clothes waste that’s not wearable or you send for textile recycling will be collected from your business (or home). It’s then transported to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for sorting. At this point, fabric waste is separated from the rest. There are three main processes for natural textiles, polyester recycling, and other artificial textiles.
- Natural textiles – these are pulled apart into their separate fibres and cleaned. Then they’re spun back into yarn, which is then ready for use to make new fabrics.
- Polyester textiles – with polyester recycling the material is shredded into polyester chips, which are melted down and used to create new polyester fabrics.
- Other artificial textiles – further types of artificial textiles can be reused by other industries and are frequently used in automobiles.
Once the recycled textiles are ready, they’ll be sent to a relevant factory or manufacturer for reuse. For example, some textiles may go to the flocking industry where synthetic and natural fibres are attached to surfaces to fill material – such as furniture padding and car insulation.
It’s estimated that 100 billion new garments are produced annually around the world. However, only 12% of clothing materials are recycled, which means a lot ends up in landfill. In fact, a staggering 92 million tonnes of textiles waste is created worldwide each year – equivalent to emptying a truck full of clothes every second.
In the UK around 336,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing are thrown away every year. While some of this is recycled, it’s estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfill and less than a fifth of used clothing is recycled. On average, every Briton throws away 3.1kg of textiles each year too – the fourth highest in Europe.
Recycling old clothes, textiles, and fabrics is essential as textile production releases 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually. The fashion industry is also responsible for about 20% of wastewater produced worldwide too, which happens during the manufacturing of clothes.
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Textile and clothes
What happens to fabric waste that is not recycled?
Nearly every type of fabric is recyclable, but some kinds aren’t reusable. Fabric that isn’t recycled will end up in landfill. Textiles and clothes in landfill are a real problem as they sit there and slowly decompose. This can take decades, particularly for artificial fabrics. In other cases, fabric waste that’s not recycled may be incinerated.
Cotton and thread take a few months to decompose, while synthetics like polyester can take hundreds of years. For this reason, it’s important to ensure whoever disposes of your commercial fabric waste – whether it’s you, your local council, or a private company – focuses on recycling whatever they possibly can.
Is cotton recyclable?
Yes, cotton can be recycled alongside other textiles and fabrics. Recycling one tonne of cotton can save 765,000 litres of water. However, producing recycled cotton is limited, as the quality can be lower than creating clothing and garments from new cotton. Therefore, it’s often blended with new cotton to form fresh products.
Cotton can be recycled in two ways:
- Pre-consumer recycled cotton – waste cotton is processed to create new fibres.
- Post-consumer recycled cotton – existing cotton is broken down and repurposed to form new fibres.
What do I do with old towels?
You can recycle old towels alongside other types of waste textiles, fabrics, and clothing as they’re generally made from similar fibres. It’s important you ensure they’re clean and dry to avoid introducing any contaminants. Otherwise, throw them into a textile bin and they’ll be processed and recycled in the same way as other textiles.
With old paper towels these normally go in with general waste. This is because they’re made from fibres that are too small to be of use when recycling. Used paper towels may be wet and contaminated so can’t usually go in with your dry mixed recycling.
Can you recycle polyester?
Yes, you can recycle polyester, but it follows a slightly different process to recycling other fabrics. You can recycle polyester clothing and items in a textile or clothing recycling bin as normal. They’ll be sorted and separated from other fabrics at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and then be recycled in one of two ways:
- Mechanical recycling – the plastics in polyester are melted down to create new yarn, which can only happen a few times as fibres lose their quality.
- Chemical recycling – this breaks down the plastic molecules and forms them into new yarn for use creating fresh products.
Why is textile waste a problem?
Textile waste is a huge problem as when it’s not recycled or reused it ends up in landfill, where it can take more than 200 years to decompose. During this time it can contribute to greenhouse gases and chemicals from the dyes may leach into surrounding soil and water, causing pollution.
For businesses, you’ll have to pay extra landfill tax for sending more waste fabrics to landfill too. Plus, producing new textiles requires a lot more water and materials compared to making them from recycled fabrics. This is less environmentally friendly and costlier for all involved. Recycling textiles avoids contributing to landfill, saves water and costs your business less.
Can you put clothes in the recycling bin?
In the UK you should not put clothes in your recycling bin at home. They may not be recycled and end up in landfill if you do. Instead you can recycle old clothes by donating to a charity shop or taking to a household waste recycling centre near you that has specific bins and facilities in place to recycle clothes and textiles.
If you run a business, arrange delivery of clothes recycling bins to your premises to easily sort, store, and dispose of old and damaged clothes in an eco-friendly way.
Can I recycle damaged clothes?
Yes, recycling damaged clothes is possible for any items that you can’t donate or repair. You may be able to give them to an animal shelter to use as bedding or other charities might accept them to transform into things like face masks, cleaning cloths, and padding for chairs.
Recycling damaged clothes that are beyond repair or reuse is also possible though. Throw such items away with other bits of waste fabric and textiles in your clothing recycling bins and they’ll be transported to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for sorting and processing. Often they’ll be shredded and cleaned to create new fabrics.
Get your free textile recycling quote
Get a fast FREE quote for textile waste collection
- Free quote within 1 hr
- Any type of textile waste
- FREE bins and delivery
- We cover all of the UK