Clothing, fabric, and shoes

What items can we take?

This category includes things made with fabric as well as shoes. We take stuff that's in good enough shape to be reused and stuff that isn't! As long as it’s not wet, mildewed, or covered in hazardous materials it can be reused or recycled!





Fabric scraps

What isn’t in this category?

Fortunately, not very much as 95% of threads people throw out can avoid the landfill. Only a few categories cannot be reused or recycled.


Hazardous contamination

Mildewed and moldy

Clothing, fabric, and shoes.

The average American trashes 65 pounds of old clothing each year and nearly all of it could be reused or recycled!

This category, sometimes called ‘threads’ also includes shoes, towels, sheets, and other fabric materials.

Each customer will receive a dedicated bag for all of their threads. We work with partners who will make sure they get to a better place than a landfill (or the back of your closet!)

If it’s fabric or shoes and not contaminated, it can be ‘threadcycled!’

Why it shouldn’t be thrown away or recycled curbside

Because there is a better use of the natural resources when clothing, shoes, and linens are recycled or repurposed. By doing so, not only is there a less of a need for new material like cotton or rubber to be grown or processed but also for every 1,000 lbs of these items donated and recycled, two man-days of labor is generated, providing an opportunity for employment in the recycling industry.

Although threads and fabrics are not typically as harmful to the environment as other items that end up in landfills, this does not mean that they are entirely safe either. These items decompose and produce landfill gas. In addition to being costly to ship to landfills, taking up space, they produce toxic air pollutants that include methane and greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, both of which are damaging to the air.

Why is Ridwell better?

We work with partners who will sort threads based on their condition

45% of the clothes, shoes, and linens that get collected is reused or repurposed as secondhand clothing. Often times these go to low income members of the community who may not otherwise be able to afford clothing and shoes.

30% of what is collected is recycled into new things. This set eventually becomes things like insulation, pet bedding, and athletic equipment.

An additional 20% is turned into fiber that can be used for carpet padding, home insulation, and raw material for automotive industries. Only 5% is sent to landfills and that number is even lower if people send contaminated material elsewhere.