How to Repair and Re-Use Old Clothes

How to Repair and Re-Use Old Clothes

Recover Brands Recover Brands
4 minute read

Listen to article
Audio is generated by DropInBlog's AI and may have slight pronunciation nuances. Learn more

Every year, 100 billion garments are produced globally, and simultaneously, 92 million tons are thrown away. Within the US alone, 11.3 million tons of clothing ends up in landfills every year, which amounts to approximately 2,150 pieces of clothing being thrown away every second and the average US consumer throwing away 81.5 lbs of clothing annually. 


In landfills, discarded clothing contributes to the production of methane (a greenhouse gas 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gasses that are accelerating climate change and its impacts. Alternatively, clothing that is discarded within the US is subject to the woes of the second-hand clothing industry, namely that much ends up in the landfill, can have negative impacts on local textile economies and communities abroad, and ultimately may be transported halfway around the world only to be discarded in someone else’s backyard.


None of this adds up. The positive impacts of buying only the things you need, from companies that consider the sustainability of the environment and communities, and that boast quality and durability is huge! At Recover, we have worked to create comfortable, style-ish, and long-lasting clothing, and our Closed Loop program gives our clothing infinite life.


No matter what clothes you have now, inevitably, clothes wear and need repair. Here are our top 3 sustainability tips for repairing and re-using old clothes and keeping them out of the landfill:


1. Zipper Repair 101

A broken zipper can be a bust on a hoodie, jacket, or pants, but there are repairs and fixes for every zipper break out there that can get your favorite garment back in order. Check out this “How To Fix Every Zipper” life-hack video to learn some tricks for when your zipper gets stuck or separates after zipping, such as rubbing the zipper with a graphite pencil (which as it turns out is a great dry lubricant), re-aligning the teeth, and tightening the zipper pull with pliers. “How to change a zipper in your jeans” and other “how to replace a zipper” videos for particular garments are plentiful on YouTube and it’s also worth looking into local sewing shops because they often do zipper repairs.


2. Button Up

Replacing a button is simple and easy and can give shirts and pants longer life and even a new look. If you blow a button, head to your local fabric or craft store, or perhaps you have buttons you have found over the years stashed away. The most basic way you can sew buttons back on is with needle and thread by knotting the end of the thread and guiding the needle through the fabric and button holes and back through a couple of times until the button is secure, and then tie off and cut the thread. Check out more advanced and other ways in this video.


3. Stash it and Patch it

Stashing clothing that is ripped, faded, or stained for patches and rags is a great option for repurposing old clothes. There’s no need to buy new rags or patches if you keep some old goods on hand. 


BONUS: Close the Loop

If your stash it and patch it pile grows bigger than your needs, check out our Recover Closed Loop program, which works to give your Recover gear and other old clothing infinite life. Every year, the average American throws away 81 lbs of apparel waste- that’s a problem. The Recover Closed Loop program enables us to take back any of your old tees and upcycle them into our supply chain, creating a circular life for your Recover apparel and your old tees. It’s easy, visit our Recover Closed Loop page to check out our tour and see when we may be near you, or purchase a Closed Loop Return Label and we will send you a compostable mailer, you fill up your compostable mailer with your old, worn-out tees and send it back to us, we recycle your old tees into new gear, and you receive a $10 store credit to use on a future purchase!  

If you are a business, organization, or institution looking to recycle your old inventory, please contact us at to learn more.

« Back to Blog