Recycling textiles in Greater Manchester

Cotton on to recycling your clothes

Textiles are everywhere in our lives. We wear them, sleep on them, sit on them, and use them for a variety of purposes, from floor cloths to pillowcases. But what happens to them when we don’t want them anymore?

Recycle for Greater Manchester is encouraging residents to recycle and reuse more of their unwanted. Even if it is torn, stained, or worn out- don’t throw them away in your bins, donate them, or recycle them. It all has value, to someone.

However well we look after our clothes they will wear out eventually, but they can still be used, even that odd sock can have a second lease of life! You can recycle your unwanted clothes in textile banks at any of our 20 recycling centres across greater Manchester including your odd socks.

Where is my nearest textile bank?

The easiest place to donate your unwanted clothes is at a charity textile bank. You can find them everywhere, including in your local supermarket carparks or town centres. We even have them at all our recycling centres 

If you don’t know where your nearest textile bank is, try using Recycle Now’s Locator Recycling Locator tool.

Alternatively, you can find your nearest recycling centre here.

Recycling Centres

A blue textile bin with a sign saying "Mixed textiles and shoes"

Why should I recycle my old clothes?

Most of your clothes will be reusable or recyclable. When you recycle your clothes, you will be reducing the need to use more raw materials and just by donating things that you no longer want to a charity shop you will be helping to provide affordable clothes to other people, and supporting charities that offer support and services to vulnerable people in our communities.  

Also, the environmental impact of clothing is substantial, manufacturing clothing use a lot of natural resources. It takes about 20,000 litres of water to make a pair of jeans and a t shirt according to an article on the Guardian newspaper. ( or on average it take 1,900 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans  (Roberts Recycling Ltd). 

A report by Government organisation WRAP suggested that textiles that end up in landfill will take years to break down, they are made of cotton, wool, or natural materials. If they are synthetic, they may not breakdown at all and can pollute waterways.  

What happens to clothing that can’t be reused? 

Don’t worry if your clothing is not suitable to be worn again if it is worn out, ripped, stained or dirty. They’ll be sent to a factory for reuse. Some textiles may go to industry that makes furniture padding and car insulation. They may also be used as cleaning rags in garages or manufacturing industry. 

Actions for a sustainable wardrobe

Want to find out more?

What is a textile?

Anything material that is spun, woven, or knitted from either natural or artificial fibres. 

Does the stuff I donate need to be clean?

Yes, please make sure your donation is clean. 

Do textile banks only take clothes?

No, you can also donate paired shoes, belts, bags and some even take accessories. 

What is a textile?

It is material that is woven or a cloth, it can be made of natural or synthetic fibres. 

What can I do with unwanted textiles?

Donate them to a local charity shop, sell them online, give to family or friends, take them to a recycling centre. 

What textiles can be recycled?

You can recycle all textiles and shoes. Some textiles banks will take other items such as bag, belts, and accessories. 

What textiles can be recycled?

You can recycle all textiles and shoes. Some textiles banks will take other items such as bag, belts, and accessories. 

Groups in Greater Manchester helping to reduce textile waste…

We have three groups that have successfully been awarded funding from our Recycle for Greater Manchester Community Fund for projects that will helping us reduce textile waste, raise awareness of the environmental impact.

The projects will teach skills to adults and young people and provide clothing for people and families in need in Greater Manchester.

If you want to find more about our community fund and the projects we are supporting, visit our R4GM Community Fund webpage.