How to Dispose of Old Underwear – 5 Eco-Friendly Tips

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: September 3, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Perhaps you are tired of the same old patterns and colors or perhaps your underwear is getting too worn out. 

Maybe it is stretched out too much or maybe it just isn’t that comfortable. Whatever the reason, it is time to say goodbye. 

These 5 Eco-friendly tips will help you make the best decision for your old underwear.

  1. Donate Your Old Underwear
  2. Recycle Your Old Underwear
  3. Reuse Your Old Underwear
  4. Art-cycle Your Old Underwear
  5. Compost Your Old Underwear

Eco Tip #1 – Donate Your Underwear

If your underwear is still usable, then donating it might be the best option. 

Donating your underwear helps others. It provides underwear for a better price. In some cases, it is even provided free of charge. 

Underwear that is still in good condition is always in high demand in many organizations that accept donations of gently used clothing. 

In addition, donating is a great option when you receive unwanted clothing as a gift. 

Maybe you ordered it online and what you received is not what you wanted; you could return it. 

However, if you missed the return window or there are no returns then donation is your next best option.

Ways to Donate Old Underwear

There are many ways and places to donate your underwear. The following organizations are just a few of the many.

  • Planet Aid – They donate to those in need across the globe.
  • Thrift Stores – They only accept new or gently used pairs of underwear.
  • Support the Girls – They distribute to girls and women in need.
  • The Bra Recyclers – They distribute gently used clothing and recycle everything else.
  • Free the Girls – They distribute necessary clothing to girls and women freed from trafficking and slavery.

Eco Tip #2 – Recycle Your Old Underwear

If your underwear is beyond its best years you are left with recycling, reusing, Art-cycling, or composting it. 

When you recycle your old underwear, it can be turned into many things. 

Some companies turn old underwear into stuffing for beds, pillows, even wall insulation. 

Some turn it into carpets or other fabrics. Whatever the end may be, it is a new beginning for your old underwear.

There are also ways you can Recycle your own old underwear, see Eco Tip #4 Art-Cycling.

Ways to Recycle Old Underwear

There are many ways and places to recycle your underwear. The following organizations are just a few of the many.

  • Hanky Panky – Lingerie retailer that also recycles old undergarments. 
  • Fab Scrap – New York Based Non-profit that recycles old clothing, as well as many other old fabrics.
  • Clothes the Loop – Initiative run by North Face to reuse old North Face clothing or recycle what is unusable.
  • Knickey – Lingerie Store that recycles old undergarments 
  • USAgain – Collects and reuses what it can, recycles what it cannot.

Check Recycle Nation or Donation Town for local places near you that accept or collect old clothing.

Eco Tip #3 – Reuse Your Old Underwear

There are many ways for you to reuse your old underwear. 

A common use for old clothing is rags. If you have cotton underwear you can rip out the seams and use the underwear as a rag. 

A thorough cleaning in the washer and dryer should be enough to make them good for reuse. 

You can also use them as stuffing for cat or dog toys. 

Just remember to shred them with scissors so your pets don’t start going after your good underwear.

Ways to Reuse Old Underwear

There are many ways to reuse old underwear. 

Some of them are forms of Recycling, or Art-cycling, your old garments in-house instead of sending them to a recycler. 

In all cases, a good washing is recommended, for your peace of mind if no one else’s.

You can also reuse other types of old clothing in many of these ways. 

  • Cut them into small rags
  • Shred or slice them to use as stuffing for toys, pillows, or other crafts
  • Cut squares and sew them together to make reusable “Pads” for your period.
  • Cut into strips to make a duster

Eco Tip #4 – Creative Art-cycling Your Old Underwear

Art-Cycling is reusing or recycling your old underwear at home for projects. 

Whether your project is making your own cleaning supplies or making stuffing for something. This works best for cotton underwear but will also work for other underwear as well. 

Wash your underwear well. Bleach it if you feel the need to be extra cautious. 

In addition, many washers now have a “sanitize” cycle. This cycle, however, may be damaging to more delicate pairs of underwear.

Ways to Art-cycle Old Underwear

There are many ways to Art-Cycle your old or undesired underwear. You can also do this with many other types of clothing.

Cut your underwear into squares, rectangles, strips, and triangles. Cut them into different shapes for crafting projects.

  • Make reusable period pads or leak protectors
  • Use as stuffing for pillows, cat or dog toys, and anything else that needs stuffing
  • Use them to weave or sew floor mats. A Couple of layers will make a great mat.
  • Use them to make potpourri sachets.
  • Use them to make hair scrunchies. 
  • Use them to make a braided rug.
  • Use them to make a scrubbing sponge.
  • Use them to tie your plants in place.

Eco Tip #5 – Compost Your Old Underwear

Lastly, you can compost your underwear. There are both commercial composting options as well as composting in your own backyard. 

The key to composting your underwear is making sure it is made out of a compostable ingredient. 

Cotton underwear, bamboo underwear, or any underwear made from a biodegradable source can be composted if you remove any elastic, or other non-biodegradable elements.

Underwear that is made of non-biodegradable substances cannot be composted. 

These include:

  • Polyester
  • Spandex
  • Synthetics

Underwear that is biodegradable, and therefore compostable:

  • Cotton
  • Bamboo
  • Hemp
  • Wool
  • Silk

How to Compost Old Underwear

  1. Check to see if they are made of a compostable material. If you are not sure, then the best option is to recycle them or reuse them.
  1. If they are made out of a compostable material, cut out any elastic or non-compostable materials.
  1. Next, cut them into small pieces. This will help them biodegrade quicker.
  1. Lastly, stir them into your compost pit.
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