ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With the changing of seasons, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is advising residents to be mindful of textile waste. In the United States, the average person throws away 81 pounds of clothing each year.

While people recycle around 15% of post-consumer textiles, 85% ends up in landfills and incinerators. DEC said many of these materials can be reused or recycled and provide social, environmental, and economic benefits.

Suggestions for reducing textile waste:

Take care of your clothing

  • Check fabric care labels. Washing and drying according to care instructions helps clothing last longer, improves color retention, and decreases the chances of an item shrinking.
  • Protect delicate or favorite items from stretching or tangling by using a garment bag.
  • Make sure zippers, buttons, and other clasps are closed to reduce friction and catching on other clothing.

Repair clothing

  • Check how to best treat your clothes when you have a stain depending on the type of stain.
  • Double sided tape can help secure a loose hem in a hurry.
  • Visit a seamstress for help mending certain clothing items.

Recycle

  • Textiles recycling is best used for items that no longer have a useful life.
  • Items can be dropped off for recycling in any condition (torn, worn, stained, missing buttons, broken zippers, shoe without a mate) as long as they are clean, dry, and odorless.
  • Find a textiles recycling location near you.
  • Due to the pandemic, it’s important to call a location prior to your arrival.

When buying new clothing

  • Choose timeless over trendy when possible.
  • Shop secondhand at local thrift and consignment shops.
  • If buying new, check to see if the retailer offers a takeback program or repair options for their clothing. You may also want to investigate whether the retailer uses sustainable practices when manufacturing their products.

More information about textile reuse and recycling can be found on the DEC website.