Clothing made from clothing that has been made to last a long time may be a good idea, according to the American Institute of Certified Recyclers (AICR).
Recycling is often touted as a way to help address climate change and save the planet, but the environmental benefits are less clear.
AICR, the largest non-profit certification organization in the world, says recycling should be considered as a “bridge” between the recycling industry and the economy.
Recycled clothes, like clothing made from discarded paper products, can be recycled, but they are less environmentally friendly than new materials that are made with the same process, according a press release.
According to the AICRP, recycled clothing products can be as durable as new clothes, but are less efficient.
They are made from materials that will likely decompose into toxic chemicals over time.
For example, paper used to make clothes is recycled and then re-used to make other products.
In contrast, plastic used in recycled clothing can be reused in plastics and petroleum products.
Plastic and petroleum-based products are both the most polluting of all the products used in the recycling process.
AIBR recommends that consumers recycle their clothes before they donate them to charities, as recycling costs are higher than new products made from the same materials.
The organization also suggests that people donate their clothes directly to charities instead of sending them to companies that sell them to consumers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Recyction Center says the average cost of recycled clothing is $5.95 per item, and recycled paper is $1.89 per item.
Clothing made with petroleum-derived products is about $6.75 per item for men, $3.80 per item per item and $2.55 per item in women, according the USDA.