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How can you avoid your unwanted textiles going to landfill?

textile pic.jpg
There are options for recycling and reusing your unwanted clothing

Do you have clothing items in your wardrobe that you no longer wear, but don’t really know what to do with them?

We are – in this country - large consumers of clothing, and many discarded items are something that somebody else would wear.

In fact, since 1960, textile waste has increased by 811%, with most of it ending up in landfills, says Sarah Stark - Environmental Compliance and Outreach Manager at Marborg Industries in Santa Barbara County.

"That statistic is a couple of years old, so it's probably gone up by now," she points out.

"Textiles are very heavy and they take about 200 years to break down in a landfill so we want to minimize from ebing thrown out if we can avoid it."

Clean textiles can be dropped off at recycling centers in Goleta, to be reused and recycled in different ways.

"About half of it can be re-worn as clothing," she said.

She explained the rest gets recycled in different ways, from becoming wiping rags to furniture insulation, carpet padding and vehicle insulation.

It’s not the only option locally for your unwanted clothing.

At the Buffalo Exchange on Main Street in Ventura, you can sell your clothing - which is then resold to thrifty buyers.

Paris Shepherd, the store manager explains how it works.

"For starters we grab the bag and dump it out on the counter. Once that's done we start looking through," she told KCLU.

"We buy based on style, condition and the needs of the store," she said.

"We look to have something [for sale] for everyone that comes in to shop."

"Once we find something we want to take into the store, we assign it a retail price. From that price you get 50% of it in store credit of 25% in cash.," she said.

The store’s staff have a keen eye for what they can resell, and are selective about the items they purchase from you.

Shepherd explained that she feels the fabric and checks the condition of areas such as under the arms and around the seams.

Those bringing their clothing to the store say it’s a great way to be environmentally friendly as well as switch up your wardrobe.

"I've been doing it for a few years and feel like it's the most sustainable way to buy clothes. I essentially get a new wardrobe for free every time I sell. I like to change up my style a lot so it's easy and convenient," Britney Holden told KCLU.

"It's a nice cycle, nothing goes to waste," said Estee Villicana.

As the queen of the clear out Marie Kondo might say – if it doesn’t bring you joy…maybe it will for someone else.