What do I do with…?

Colorful Clothes on Hangers


What is textile waste? Textiles is a huge industry that encompasses all fabrics, drapery, and wearable items (clothes and shoes) as well as things like carpets and upholstery. With the growing fast fashion and consumerism mentality, the amount of textile waste is increasing.

Why is textile waste a problem? “The textile industry is one of the world’s most polluting industries, responsible for toxic waterways, microplastic pollution and significant carbon output.”  

~Susan Edwards, Guide to Sustainable Textiles

Examples: bamboo, cotton, hemp, leather and vegan leather, linen, lyocell, modal, nylon, polyester, silk and soysilk, wool, a variety of blends, and new and emerging textiles


  • Buy fewer clothes and buy the best quality you can afford

  • Buy used clothes

  • Limit polyester and nylon clothing to specific athletic gear where the performance qualities of those materials are especially useful



  • Take your textiles to seamstresses and tailors to get them professionally altered or repaired

    • Local Seamstresses, Tailors and Alteration/ Repair shops:

    • Shoe and Boot Repair shops:

      • Archer's Grizzly Boot and Shoe

      • Lloyd's Shoe Repair

      • Logan's Boot and Shoe


H&M takes old and used clothing and donates them to foundations that are dedicated to creating new and innovative ways to recycle textiles

  • Call ahead to our local store to check their acceptance policy


The EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills. More than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated each year in the United States, and the amount has doubled over the last 20 years. In 2014, over 16 million tons of textile waste was generated, according to the U.S. EPA. Of this amount, 2.62 million tons were recycled,3.14 million tons were combusted for energy recovery, and 10.46 million tons were sent to the landfill. An average American throws away approximately 80 pounds of used clothing per person. (Information Source).

Susan Edwards has researched the topic of textiles and lays out the layers of issues regarding different kinds of textiles in her e-book, Guide to Sustainable Textiles. She identifies what textiles might be better choices for you and why. The source and processing of the raw materials used to make textiles and the post-consumer issues all have different issues with regard to sustainability, toxins, ethics, economics, social justice, water and air pollution, microplastic pollution, harm to life forms, carbon footprint, soil degradation, loss of farmland, loss of forests, water use and more. A holistic and systems point of view is necessary to understand what the more sustainable choices are . For instance, cotton is a natural fiber and is biodegradable but it is responsible for 25% of the world’s pesticide use. There are multiple additional harmful aspects of cotton production unless it is a certified organic cotton. As consumers we can ask producers for transparency regarding their production process and we can make a difference by what we purchase.


And Sew Forth
3820 Snowdrift Ln
(406) 251-4873

April’s Alterations
(406) 207-0019

Archer's Grizzly Boot and Shoe
814 S Higgins
(406) 549-1555

Bargain Corner
200 S California St
(406) 543-4926

Bethel Community Church
1601 South 6th Street West
(406) 721-2780 info@bethelmissoula.com

Customs Fashion Consulting
2025 Raymond Ave
(406) 728-8760

H&M Southgate Mall
2901 Brooks St
(855) 466-7467

Kind Apparel
517 S Higgins Ave
(406) 240-4731

Lloyd's Shoe Repair

2801 Russell St
(406) 721-7551

Logan's Boot and Shoe
117 S 3rd St West
(406) 721-3182

Merry Bobbins
511 Judi Dr
(702) 285-5348

Missoula Goodwill
2501 S Reserve St
(406) 549-6969

Missoula Tailoring Services
1621 South Ave W
(406) 721-2012

Nip n’ Tuc
241 S Curtis St
(406) 240-6776

Perfect Alterations
1940 Harve Ave
(406) 728-5505

Recreate Designs
St. Ignatius, MT 59865
(406) 214-9078

Teen Challenge Thrift Store
2036 Mullan Rd
(406) 728-1171

Underground Thrift Store
705 S Higgins Ave
(406) 543-7154

YWCA Secret Seconds
920 Kensington Ave
(406) 541-3210

1136 W Broadway St
(406) 549-1610

Zootown Thrift
1444 W Broadway St
(406) 552-7732