How Can I Donate My Clothes In A More Sustainable Way?

The second and final part from our What Really Happens To The Clothes We Donate To Charity?

When aiming to create a more sustainable yet charitable donation process, it is our responsibility as consumers to consider what we are donating, why we are donating and how we will in fact, do so. By carefully considering these questions, we are actively searching for more environmentally conscious solutions both locally and internationally.  

When striving to donate garments in the most eco-friendly way possible, slow fashion stylist turned content creator, Jenna Flood  —  known on social media as the Ironic Minimalist —   says

“The best question to ask ourselves before donating is, "would I give this to a friend?" if the answer is "no", find another way to dispose of it,  whether that be sending it to a textile recycling company, passing it on to someone to mend, using it as old rags, or upcycling it into something else”

Jenna, also conveyed the importance of considering the time of year and type of garments you are donating, and whether they seasonally reflect one another.

“Only donate clothing when in season. Op shops don't have a lot of space, so donate knits just before winter when they are in need, rather than in the middle of summer.. we really should be more selective of what we DO donate to charity and when”

Although these solutions may sound simple, we tend to focus so heavily on farewelling our pre-loved items that we do not stop to consider whether we are doing so in the correct manner.

“Take the pressure off charities and be responsible for what you donate, our charities do not need our ripped, torn or smelly old clothes. Treat your local op shop with kindness and think about the next person who will wear your items” says Flood.  

If donating garments to charity is not of particular interest to you, re-selling and renting  —  Re-selling does extend a garment's life by roughly two years —   are two equally sustainable options which also enable your items to have a new life or more sustainable future.

Rather than researching ways to sustainably discard excess clothing, it is important to remember that we should in-fact, be looking at ways to reduce the amount of clothing we are disposing of in the first place.

As consumers, we must not view fashion as instant, short-lived and disposable, but rather an investment we endeavour to look after and cherish.

That said, if you are looking to donate your clothing we do recommend researching charities who are urgently requesting donations. By doing this, you are not only avoiding giving to charities who are already struggling to sort through the generous amount of garments donated during the pandemic, but also taking active steps to move towards a more circular fashion economy.

Because at the end of the day, in order to see change, we must actively be part of the change ourselves.

Words by Phoebe Blogg