When it comes to clothing, buying sustainable fabrics is a good start, but choosing garments made from natural fibers is even better. Organic cotton, silk, kapok, alpaca, wool, hemp, bamboo (depending on how it’s processed), linen, and ethical cashmere are all examples of natural fibers that can be composted, just like old books. However, natural fibers are often blended with synthetics like nylon, elastane, and polyester, which diminishes their ability to compost.

For those looking to compost their clothes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, remove any non-biodegradable pieces such as zippers, buttons, and plastic tags and labels. Second, don’t add too much clothing to the compost heap; it should not exceed 25% of the total compost. Third, rip or cut the clothing into small shreds to speed up the decomposition process. Fourth, consider clothing as “brown material” and add it to the compost heap with lots of “green material” like food scraps and grass cuttings to maintain balance. Finally, turning up the heat in the compost heap will also speed up the process.

For garments containing synthetic fibers, textile recycling services are a good option. The Council for Textile Recycling in the US and Terracycle’s “Zero Waste Box” in Australia and the UK are two examples of such services. By following these tips, individuals can reduce textile waste and contribute to a more sustainable future.