What to do with your stained clothing?
Most of our customers go out of their way to make sure their outgrown kids' clothing finds a happy new home. What many folks don't realize, though, is that donating stained or damaged clothing to charity doesn't do anyone much good. No one wants to purchase stained clothing, no matter how poor or thrifty they they may be.
Granted, stained cottons can be sold to textile recyclers as rags -- but at a loss to the recyclers. Organizations that accept used clothing are only able to raise money from clean, wearable items (Most charities that take used clothing provide services by selling that clothing rather than giving it to the needy.) Which brings me back to the question: What should you do with your stained clothing?
The most eco-friendly, socially responsible thing is to find a way to reuse the items on your own, or to repair them (stain treat, fix buttons, etc.) before passing them on. There are all kinds of ways to reuse, as Etsy and numerous upcycling websites can attest. But the easiest way for the non-crafty among us is to simply turn them into rags -- and to find more uses for rags by, say, ditching paper towels.
Here's one trick we use in the store: Conventional mopping is a loathesome chore but the alternative -- Swiffer-style disposable wipers -- is environmentally ugly. So instead of using Swiffer wipes on our mop, we cut rags from cotton apparel and use those. I'll use 2 or 3 rags at a time, removing them when one gets nasty, then flipping all 3 over to use their other sides. When finished, the rags can be laundered and re-used. If they are too damaged to re-use, toss them in an open-air trash can so that they dry out before trash pick up. (That will make them lighter and, since NYC trash is hauled away hundreds of miles on trucks, more environmentally and economically efficient to dispose of.)
If an article of clothing has buttons or other reusable fasteners, we remove those first and collect them in case we are able to use the buttons on another item. (We often receive items that are missing buttons but otherwise in exellent condition.)
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