Recycling Clothes and Textiles at Home

In Devon clothes and other fabrics and textiles are recycled by sending them to a special clothes sorting and recycling. This is what happens:

What are the benefits of recycling clothes?

  • They might end up being reused – if the clothes you recycle are wearable they will be reused and sold in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Which is even better than them being recycled!
  • Saves energy and water – if the clothes are not wearable they can still be recycled. This saves a lot of energy and water – it takes around 20,000 litres of water to make one cotton T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Thats enough water to fill 250 bath tubs!

Wow fact: The average British family spends about £1,700 on clothes every year and we keep them for about 2 years.

How are clothes recycled?

  • Clothes are collected from recycling banks.
  • They are sorted into ‘wearable’ and ‘non-wearable’ items.
  • Clothes that are wearable are sent away to be reused.
  • Those that aren’t wearable (around 10%) get cut up and recycled as industrial cleaning cloths.

Where can you recycle clothes?

West Devon, Mid Devon, Torridge, Torbay, North Devon and East Devon councils all collect clothes from your recycling bin, box or bag. If you are not in these areas there are lots of recycling banks you can take your clothes to. To find out more about what you can recycle and where it is recycled in your area click here.

How to Recycle Clothes and Textile Waste at School

Did you know there are multiple companies set up that will pay for your unwanted textiles?

Textiles can include clothes, curtains, bedding, shoes, bags, and soft toys. Companies will pay a set price per kilogram of textiles collected, however, it is often worth shopping around to find the best price. Perhaps if you have some clothes lying around after your Table top sale/Give and Take/Uniform Swap, you could organise to get them recycled and earn those extra £££’s.

Here are some links to companies you could arrange to do your textile recycling with:


Each company will work in a slightly different way, but as an example if you were to choose Bag 2 School, here is how it works:

  • You promote your collection through posters and letters home.
  • Bag 2 School provides clothing bags for children to take home.
  • You arrange a collection day with Bag 2 School and get all clothes bags to be brought in on that day to avoid storage problems.
  • The driver will weigh and load the bags.
  • You will receive your payment within the week!