ReThread DC

RETHREAD-DC-LOGOReThread DC, the District of Columbia’s textile reuse & recovery initiative, provides local residents and visitors resources for decreasing the impact that their clothing (and other textiles) has on the environment.

New fashion and houseware trends are hitting the market faster than ever before. But with faster fashion comes more unwanted clothing and other textiles. The Council for Textile Recycling estimates that the average American throws away more than 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles each year. Textiles consisting of clothing, shoes, bed linens and towels are more than 5% of Washington, DC’s annual Waste Stream. That means our city is spending more than $200,000 a year to dispose of unwanted clothing and other textiles as trash. Sending valuable textiles to landfills or waste-to-energy facilities contributes to the causes of climate change by releasing toxic greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Reusing, recovering or recycling textiles removes them from the waste stream, extends the life of garments, provides a source of affordable clothing for local families, and serves as raw material for the development of new item

ReThread DCwill:

  • Educate DC residents on what to do with unwanted clothing and textiles.
  • Promote the benefits of reuse and recovery (repair and recycling) of textiles.
  • Share local resources for reuse and recovery (repair and recycling) of textiles.
  • Make it easier for residents to make choices about where to take their unwanted textiles.
  • Create more local opportunities to reuse and recover unwanted textiles.

What Can I Do?

Residents and visitors to the District should follow the general waste hierarchy that moves along a continuum from focusing on reducing textiles at the source to minimizing disposal.




Source Reduction: Shop and Swap Your Own Closetorganized closet

The best way to reduce textile waste is to decrease the amount of clothing and other textiles that you accumulate. Consider “Shopping” your own closet before purchasing new items. Organizing your clothing is the best way to see what you have in order to avoid making unnecessary purchases.


thrift-shop-vintage-signReuse: Shop Thrift and Resale

If you decide that you do need something new, why not let it be “New To You.” Local thrift, resale and consignment stores are a great source for nearly new clothing and textiles. They are are also a great way to make some extra money by selling your unwanted items. Some resale shops pay you cash on the spot for about half the expected sale price.  Most consignment shops pay you a portion (usually 50%) of the price once the items has sold.


Recovery: Repairsewing kit

Prompted by the low cost of clothing, it would seem as though darning socks or replacing buttons is a thing of the past.  Repairing and “rewearing” extends the life of your clothing. For a directory of local textile and shoe repair resources click here.



Clothing-Donation-PhotoRecycle: Donate

Unwanted clothing and textiles do not belong in the trash. Items that are dry and odorless should be donated regardless of their condition. Many large scale non-profit textile collectors have relationships with secondary markets that purchase unsellable clothing for use as wiping rags and for industrial fill material. Sustainable DC is forming the Rethread DC Donation Partnership with DC based nonprofit organizations that leverage clothing donations to support their missions’. Partner’s collection and redistribution of clothing and other textiles benefit local residents and keeps reuseable and recoverable items out of the waste stream. For a directory of local donation resources click here.





Clothing that is disposed of is often ends up in a landfill. The decay of textiles contributes to the production of lethal gases that contribute to climate change. So before you dispose of clothing or textiles be sure you have exhausted all other possible options for reuse and recycling.












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