Worn and torn clothing can be recycled in King County

It's a staggering figure: People in King County throw out about 40,000 tons of old clothing and linens each year. Most of these items can't be resold, but they can be recycled.

Many places that take back "gently used" clothing, also accept ripped, torn and stained items. It’s part of the Threadcycle program, a joint project of Seattle and King County.

Liz Fikejs, conservation program manager with Seattle Public Utilities, says this old clothing can be made into new items.

“Those stained, holey t-shirts get turned into industrial wiping rags. Worn out jeans that have holes in them are shredded into fiber and made into insulation. We just don't know it because that insulation is behind our walls,” Fikejs said. “Other materials might be shredded and made into insulation around appliances or inside our cars."

Nine groups take part in the Threadcycle program, including the Salvation Army, Seattle Goodwill, Northwest Center and Value Village. Click here for donation locations.

"They can also take the ‘orphan’ items, like a single sock or a single glove and those will be paired up and then reused in other markets,” Fikejs explained.

You can bring all of these items in one bag, just nothing wet or mildewed or contaminated with hazardous materials. That will ruin the entire bag.

Click here for more Info about the Threadcycle program.

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