Tag Archives: recycling t-shirts

When Is It Time To Recycle Your Old T-Shirt? How To Recycle Your Shirt

T-shirts definitely have a life cycle. As they age, they start to look less than spectacular and get worn less and less. Then the time comes to recycle your old T-shirt. Luckily there are countless ways to recycle a tee, but you need to know when is the right time to do so.

Periodically go through your T-shirt wardrobe and evaluate the shirts you own. If you have any that you have not worn in a year or more for whatever reason, they should go into the recycle pile. Weed through the remaining shirts to decide whether or not it is time to recycle them or if you can continue wearing them. Some of the top indicators of when it is time to recycle your old T-shirts include the following.

•    It does not fit you anymore.
•    It has been worn so much you can see through it.
•    It is permanently stained.
•    The tee is stretched so badly that it has no shape anymore.
•    It has become too unevenly faded or discolored to be worn outside.
•    It is full of holes and rips that were not strategically done.

When you are looking for the ideal way to recycle your shirt, you will find that the options are endless. Here are some of the most popular ways to do so.

•    If the T-shirt still has life left in it, you may want to donate it to a charitable organization like a homeless shelter, Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
•    If you can’t bear to part with it yet, you can salvage a favorite T-shirt by using it as an undershirt, dying it, putting patches on it or simply repairing it.
•    If it is a favorite, a nice color or one with sentimental value, you can cut the front and back into large squares to be made into a quilt. The Internet is flooded with how-to information on making a T-shirt quilt. This is great for kids’ tees too.
•    You can cut up or rip up T-shirts into rags to be used for cleaning or in the garage.
•    You can cut the T-shirt into very thin strips diagonally and roll the strips to create a yarn that can be used for knitting or crocheting to truly recycle it into useful new clothing.
•    You can turn old T-shirts into underwear, for those who are good at sewing.
•    For those who have just the basics of sewing, an old T-shirt might be a great pillow or tote bag with a few simple stitches.
•    Old tees can be sewn into various shapes and stuffed for use as pet toys.
•    They can also be cut up and used as cleansing cloths or as liners in cloth diapers.

When you are ready to recycle some of your T-shirts, it also means that you are ready to get some new tees. A great option to ensure you have a winning set of new favorite T-shirts is to order custom-made ones. You get to choose the perfect tee for you. You can even recreate some of your old favorite ones by having them printed just how you would like.


An Example of Eco-Fashion and Idea For Recycling T-Shirts


The Green T Reuse Design Contest was put on by Sew Green who is a non-profit organization in Ithaca who encourages sustainability in fabric, fiber and fashion. There were more than 100 entries in 15 categories by 60 designers from ages under 12 to over 70 and from beginners to professionals. One of the reasons SewGreen believes in this project of reuse and recycling of cotton t-shirts is because of how damaging and intensive it is to grow conventional cotton. Cotton actually uses 25% of the world’s pesticides and herbicides but only takes up 2.4% of the usable farmland. Consumers also tend to frequently dispose of clothes, in fact over 70 pounds of clothing are given awan and 80 percent of those end up in landfills. As of now only about 3 percent of cotton is grown with organic farming methods.

The winners were an eco-fashion team called “the Realitee for Humanitee: Sustainabilitee” from Cornell’s office of Publications and Marketing. They created a series of outfits from over 100 different t-shirts. The items created included a reversible cape, a hat that becomes a drawstring purse, a belt, a dog coat and designer leash. The winning designs will be featured in a gallery in the Communtiy School of Music and Arts from April 4-14 and in a Fashion show on April 27th.

For more information check out this article at Cornell.edu or SewGreen.