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Topic: Here's an ethical green crafty question.  (Read 9003 times)
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« on: March 07, 2008 06:50:21 AM »

Is it more ecologically ethical to;

a) Donate my family's old clothes I just pulled out of everyone's closets to Goodwill.

2) Pull out all elastics, buttons, and zippers to reuse on my crafts and sewing of new clothes for us?

Either way they are being reused.

I'm not stressing over it, I am just wondering which is more green. Huh

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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008 06:52:54 AM »

I cleaned out our closets recently too! I chose to do a little of both- pulled zippers and such off the worst of the bunch, cut squares out of the best (and most memorable) items for a tshirt quilt, and then donated the rest.

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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2008 12:35:13 PM »

Hard call.  I'd say that if the garment, as a whole, is still wearable, it's probably a bit greener to donate the entire thing, unless you have a specific use for ALL the garment.  For instance, you make a sundress, love the print, but the dress never fits right, so you cut the dress up and use it for quilt squares. 

If the garment has no wear left (or is unsale-able) due to stains, holes, weakening of fabric, etc.  it's probably better to salvage trims and other items you can use later,and make cleaning rags or rag-rug strips out of the fabric if it's suitable.  Some thrift stores DO take really ratty cotton clothes and sell them back to manufacturers, so call your stores and find out.   I have no clue what to do with worn-out polyester except pitching it in the trash.  Unless you bought the original item from Patagonia.  I believe they still have a poly fleece-recycling program.
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2008 12:37:27 PM »

I think it depends. If the clothing is still wearable I say donating it is more ethical. But it it's ripped, stained, in bad shape then using the buttons/zippers/whatever yourself is the more ethical option.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2008 06:02:39 PM »

Don't stress out either way since less than half of what is donated to Goodwill is actually put on the racks.  A good friend of mine works at a Goodwill and when they receive clothes they are thrown into a bin and sorted out into piles, then they are looked over.  they decide if they can get more money out of it by selling it or by recycling it.  They also use what they have on the racks to help determine what to put out and what to sell to raw salvage.  If you want to make sure that it go to someone locally and not shipped overseas or sold for recycled stuff (carpet backing in you car, etc.)  then take it to a homeless shelter or protection shelter. 

You can also take your zippers, buttons,and such off and put that stuff in a bag and label it salvage and most Goodwills will knows that means that the stuff is not fit for resale.

Anyway you do it ... as long as you keep it out of the dump ... you are doing fine.

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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2008 06:48:11 PM »

It sounds greener to reuse zippers,buttons,ect. than buying new ones.Either way,good use is being made of the garment. The women's shelter in my area gives whatever clothes they can't use to Goodwill,which in turn provides them with vouchers so the women can pick out what they need.
 I will strip trims from worn out stuff and pass on the good pieces. If I love the fabric, I keep the garment with my fabric stash,but don't cut it up until I'm ready to use it. I've started cutting pockets off of worn out shorts,ect.,and putting them back for when I make a bag-can't have too many inside pockets for stuff.

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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2008 08:39:21 AM »

I donate if it's a really good item, anything else gets the zippers, ribbing and buttons taken off, bits cut out and then the rest goes in a bag to go in the cloth recycling which happens locally. It's then turned into industrial felt for insulation and such.
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2008 07:42:43 PM »

This is actually a somewhat complicated issue. Who knew, right? If you donate all of the clothing to Goodwill or another reseller of textiles there is a good chance that the most worn out or least "fashionable" items will never go on a hanger in one of their stores. It is my understanding that Goodwill shreds and otherwise destroys the least desirable of their clothing donations. They can then try to sell the resulting product to manufacturers of pet beds or other "green" textile enterprises. Or, your items might wind up being shipped to another country, sold cheap to developing countries.

Although I have no proof of my position, I'm inclined to say that re-purposing your clothes at home is greener than giving them to a charity. There's nothing at all green about shipping clothes to the ends of the earth!

Just my .02

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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2008 07:46:15 PM »

I donate EVERYTHING. I don't know about other goodwills, but ours boxes up anything "unsale-able to americans" ie stained, torn, overstarched...and airlifts it to needy countries.
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008 02:12:17 PM »

I don't think the question should be which is more green, but which is the better use for the clothing. And, if the clothing is AT ALL usable, then donation is best. Obviously we all love crafting, but there are people who need clothing. I'd skip goodwill though like someone else said, charity thrift stores (St. Vincent's) and shelters will put things to better use.

Unless you're talking about items of memories, in which case I think someone made a great suggestion of making a quilt

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