Additional notes by Reta Lee
SINGAPORE - In 2018, Singapore generated 219,800 tonnes of textile and leather waste, but only 6% of such waste was recycled, according to the National Environment Agency.
The Semakau landfill, Singapore's only landfill, might be unable to accommodate our textile waste in the near future, as it is projected to run out of space in 2035.
While we frown upon buying large quantities of fast fashion clothing that is quickly thrown away, old clothes will inevitably pile up. As the spring cleaning period approaches, you might have KonMari-ed your wardrobe and you have a pile of old clothing that you do not want anymore. Fret not, here are the best places where you can recycle your old clothing.
Uplift Project is a volunteer group founded in Australia who collect and ship second-hand and new bras, and coordinate their distribution to underprivileged women all around the Asia-Pacific region. Uplift started in 2005, collecting and shipping second-hand bras to Fiji through Rotary Australia World Community Service.
In 2008 Uplift started working with NGOs and women’s organisations in the recipient countries, ensuring culturally appropriate distribution and fitting services. To date, Uplift Project had sent 650,000 bras across 11 countries including Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, PNG, the Solomon Islands & the Philippines.
For more information on donating your innerwear, contact them here.
This is a free collection service for all who want the convenience of recycling their unwanted clothing, shoes, accessories and household linens. Greensquare will collect at your doorstep.
Items eligible for collection include clean clothes, clean and wearable paired shoes, clean household linen (e.g. bed sheets and towels), and accessories (e.g. belts and bags).
You may schedule a collection at their website, https://www.greensquare.com.sg/collection.
You may also drop off your old clothing at these locations.
H&M Recycling Bins
You might have noticed a green-coloured bin next to the cashier counter at the H&M outlet.
You can drop your bag of unwanted clothing in the recycling box at your local store. All textiles are welcome – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets. The textiles are then sent to the nearest recycling plant, where they are sorted by hand. For every bag of textiles you drop off, you can get a $10 discount on your next purchase (min $80).
The clothing is then upcycled by H&M for its Conscious clothing collection and Close The Loop denim collection.
Started by Veolia in May 2014, this programme not only provides added convenience, but also acts as an incentive for residents to bring their recyclable items to the nearest recycling station in exchange for cash. Currently, there is a total of 28 Cash-For-Trash recycling stations in the Clementi and Tanglin-Bukit Merah sectors. Continual efforts are being made to set up more recycling stations.
Residents can visit any of these Cash-For-Trash recycling stations to exchange their recyclable items. You can receive a cash incentive of S$0.20 per kg of old clothing.
Garment-collecting boxes at Wing Tai Retail stores
Be rewarded with a 5% off wt+ voucher when you drop off your garment at any wt+ stores.
There are garment-collecting boxes at all standalone wt+ stores such as Dorothy Perkins, FOX Kids & Baby, G2000, Karen Millen, Topshop, Topman and Warehouse. Find your nearest store locations here.
Wt+ is collaborating with Greensquare to keep textiles in a closed recycling loop. Good quality recyclables are sold to second-hand textiles importers (e.g. thrift shops, second-hand market) in developing countries so as to enable the less fortunate population to be able to purchase clothes, shoes, etc. at an affordable price.
Garments that cannot be reused will be recycled and sold as industrial cleaning cloth (e.g. for the automobile and shipyard industries) depending on the material of the textiles. The usage is for cleaning lubricants.
Not only will you be able to swap from the best selection of pre-loved fashion pieces, you can now upcycle and learn fashion tricks all in one place!
At the Fashion Pulpit, you can bring your fashionable items that are still in great condition in exchange for points (based on the quality, style, and brand). You can use your points to swap/shop for any items available. You have to first purchase a subscription with them, though.
Fashion items that don’t make it to the swap space will be transformed into something fashionable, functional, and swappable.
Fashion Pulpit is located at unit #02-08 in Liang Court Mall, but note that Liang Court will be closing in early 2020 for redevelopment of the site.
Other recycling points
Besides the above clothing recycling points, if your old clothing is still in good condition, it is also advisable to donate it to charities such as The Salvation Army and MINDS, or do clothing swaps with your friends or fellow swappers.
Do keep in mind that not everything we drop off at thrift stores is going to be sold, recycled, or even put on store shelves. These depend on whether there’s enough space, styles, quality, and whether or not the thrift store has partnered with a textile recycling facility.
What’s most important is to make sure we’re donating items in good condition.
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