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Threadcycle: damaged clothes and linens aren’t garbage anymore

Holes-in-socks-Logo“Threadcycle” encourages residents to donate for reuse or recycling

Every year, Seattle and King County residents toss an estimated 40,000 tons of clothes, shoes, linens and other textiles into the garbage. And all of those items go directly to a landfill.

But ripped, worn and stained clothes and linens, heavily worn shoes, and “singles” of items that are normally paired aren’t garbage anymore. These items are accepted by many local organizations, as long as they are not wet, mildewed or contaminated with hazardous materials.

Now in its second year, the Threadcycle campaign, a joint project of King County and Seattle Public Utilities, is urging people to take used clothing items to one of the dozens of donation locations operated by nine partner organizations throughout Seattle and King County.

The long list of items that can be accepted ranges from purses to holey jeans to single socks.

The Council for Textile Recycling estimates that up to 95 percent of the clothes, shoes, and linens that are thrown in the garbage could have been reused or recycled and turned into new products:

  • Stained, holey t-shirts can be turned into industrial wiping rags.
  • Worn out jeans can be recycled into fiber and made into home insulation.
  • A variety of items can be recycled into fiber to create sound-proofing for household appliances.

Threadcycle has partnered with nine organizations to encourage residents to recycle all clothes, shoes and linens. These organizations include:

  1. Big Brothers Big Sisters Puget Sound
  2. Goodwill (South King, Pierce & Thurston counties)
  3. Northwest Center
  4. The Salvation Army
  5. Seattle Goodwill
  6. SightConnection
  7. TexGreen
  8. USAgain
  9. Value Village

These organizations and businesses offer many ways to give your gently used and worn out clothes, shoes and linens, including:

  • Drop boxes (found in parking lots throughout Seattle and King County).
  • Thrift shops.
  • Stationary collection trucks and trailers
  • Pick-up services (scheduled by phone or online)
  • Special collection events

Some recycling and transfer stations also offer collection for these items.

You can bring all of your items in one bag—just remember to avoid wet or mildewed items.

Learn what items are accepted and where to take them at