I like saving scraps of fabric from my sewing. They usually come in handy for other projects. However, there is a point when a scrap is just too small to be worth saving, and I don’t want to clutter up my storage space with tiny little bits. On the other hand, I feel like the scraps are perfectly good clean fibers, and I hate to just send them to the landfill.
A while back, Zoe mentioned that in the UK, the charity she used to work for (TRAID) sent scraps on for textile recycling—to be turned into insulation and stuffing and whatever else uses short mixed fibers. I wondered if any of the thrift shops on my side of the pond were doing the same thing. I started saving a (large) bag of just the fabric scraps too small to keep, which took a surprisingly long time to fill up, considering it had all the scraps from this fall’s batches of Fiddleheads. (Probably due to the fact that I can’t bring myself to part with any piece of slightly felted cashmere big enough to be remotely useful. Want some cashmere pieces? Let me know!) I also had a few garments that weren’t really fixable any more, but I figured had life left in at least some of the fibers.
I thought about contacting charity shops every once in a while, but basically put it off until the scrap bag was too full to ignore, and then sent out emails. Good news, USA-dwelling, fabric-cutting folks: Goodwill will take your scraps!
This was my message:
I have some worn-out clothing and fabric scraps which I don’t think a thrift store would be able to sell. However, I would still like to keep them out of the landfill! I know that some thrift stores pass on worn out clothes and scraps to recyclers so that they can be remade into something else, and I am wondering if your store does this?
And this is what I got back:
Yes, most fabrics that cannot be sold continue to be recycled in the manner outlined below at all our locations.
Hooray! Now I
don’t feel like an idiot for saving a big bag of tiny fabric scraps can be a good citizen and recycle. I also took some things I was ready to part with that I thought Goodwill would be able to sell—seems only fair as they are providing this service.
A note: if you don’t have a Goodwill store in your area and decide to contact local thrift shops, I’ve had much better results via email than over the phone. The people I got when I called were more likely to assure me that they try to sell everything before sending it overseas, etc., than to have the answer I was looking for.