The Benefits of Textile Recycling

Textiles are important part of sustainability and our ability to provide for future generations. This page contains some information, videos and activities related to textile recycling and re-purposing.

Textile recycling is good for the PLANET:

  • Reduces landfill waste. Each American throws away 68 pounds of clothing each year, on average. That’s nearly 21 billion pounds!
  • Saves water. Old textiles can be recycled, saving hundreds of gallons per kilo required to grow new cotton.
  • Saves gasoline. Polyester is made from petroleum and can be recycled indefinitely.

Textile recycling is good for PEOPLE:

  • Supports job training. Re-purposed clothing is often sold to support job training and placement programs.
  • Creates job opportunities. Textile recycling companies supply 17,000 jobs nationally and growing!
  • A means of affordable clothing. Used clothing is resold around the world at a price many can afford.
  • Civic pride. Recycling textiles can bring communities together to do the right thing!


This video from SMART (Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles) explains how donating and recycling clothing is good for the environment and help build healthy communities.

SMART: The Fiber Side of Textile Recycling
See how textiles are recycled into new material. Textiles in any condition can be recycled. Donate, Recycle, Don’t Throw Away. (4 minutes)


Using the template provided, students can design a T-shirt that shows school pride for Earth Day and recycling! Teachers and students can vote  and award prizes for the best design.

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