Got a green dilemma? Ask me! I'll be answering a new question each week.
Q: How do I throw away clothing that's too stained or worn to be donated? —Dara Spangler, Portland, OR
A: I admire your scruples, but if the fabric’s clean and the stains aren’t too vivid, clothing is almost never too worn to be donated. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other thrift shops and charities are often happy to sort through laundered donations and decide for themselves whether clothing is unwearable. Call them and ask whether they sell the dregs to rag collectors. Old fabric, like old newspaper, is increasingly being reused as greener insulation in homes.
Remember the rag rug and patchwork quilt? They’re still around. Schools and community centers that give classes in fabric arts may welcome donations. Even I, the least handy person on the planet, cut squares from a worn-out favorite shirt to patch my torn chinos. You can also offer to give away old clothes at Freecycle.
Or it’s all the better for reusing as rags! I find that I never have enough of these. Why buy dust cloths? As Whole Living editor Alex Postman discovered when giving up paper towels, it’s great to have rags handy for wiping up spills.
Mindy Pennybacker is Whole Living’s “Econundrums” columnist. See her answers to reader questions and ask your own here. She is also editor of GreenerPenny.com and author of Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices.