We all have unwanted clothes and shoes.  Still beautiful or completely worn out…
What’s the best thing to do with them in the Cambridge area?

Would you wear them again, IF they were cleaned, mended or adapted?
I stopped wearing some oil-stained trousers, when they just needed a good soak and wash! 
You can find good clothes-mending advice at ‘Love your clothes’   and JoJo Maman Bébé
Or if you’re not into mending and alterations:

  • book your item into one of our repair cafés, where a skilled repairer will work on it with you
  • consider getting professional help locally
  • Timpsons do clothing and shoe repairs, alterations, and dry-cleaning.

Would someone else like them? 
Maybe you can sell them online? This suggests 8 places for different circumstances.

Or swap them at a ‘Swish’ (a clothes swapping party)  Look out for them in Events and  if you’d like to organise one, contact  Nicole Barton nicole@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org  for advice and help.

Or donate them:

  • to your favourite charity shop: some only want resaleable clothes. Oxfam takes and sorts all clothes and has an online shop, which helps them find customers for specialist items.
  • donate via freecycle and the buyer will collect
  • via a kerbside charity collection, if you have one. If not, Your Donation can arrange one.

Or are they worn out / beyond use?

Take clean, dry clothes and shoes to one of the numerous recycling points handling clothes (choose specific item: clothing) . 12 of them currently use SOEX, the European leader for clothing and shoe reuse and recycling. Most gets reused, so you can put good clothes & shoes here too.  SOEX have innovative systems to recycle unsaleable clothing and shoes into raw materials for reuse.  See my blog on this.

Please DON’T put clothing, fabrics or shoes in your household recycling bins –
use the recycling points, as above
Things in the wrong bins cost Cambs and Peterborough about £10,000 a month!

  • not in your Black bin, synthetics last for centuries in landfill; others make methane
  • not in your Green bin: they don’t compost and have to be removed
  • not in your Blue Bin either: They get wet and mixed with broken glass

All these paths for unwanted clothes shouldn’t encourage us to buy and wear more. Each extra item of clothing and footwear we buy has its own footprint, even if it’s reused or recycled well – globally more than the footprints of flying and shipping combined!
So, as punk icon Vivienne Westwood says:  ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’.
Let’s enjoy and value the clothes and shoes we love! Then pass them on…