So, you’ve thought twice about buying something new. You’ve tried to buy with low impact. You’ve mended, patched, and repaired your clothing within an inch of its life. But now you’re out of options! Do you have to throw it in the landfill? Fortunately, there’s some other options left still.

  • Make it into a rag


  • Recycle it!

Wait, you can recycle textiles?

Well, not in your blue bin, but there are some options. Basically when clothes are collected for recycling, a few things may happen to them.

First, clothing is gathered at the collection point. From there it’s brought to a sorting facility, and is sorted into

  1. Clothing to be shipped overseas for a re-sale market (this is complicated and has some good and bad points to it. Here’s an article for further reading to help you understand and decide what you think about this issue:
  2. Clothing to be turned into industrial rags
  3. Clothing to be shredded and turned into insulation
  4. Clothing to be recycled and turned into new textile products

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Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of clothing can realistically be recycled into new garments today, but much of what you may have thought was beyond hope, can be used in some way as a functional product.

What Textiles Can Be Recycled, and Where?

In Manitoba, you’ve got a number of options for those grubby items that are too crappy to donate or sell.

Recycling Option What Do They Accept? Notes & More Information
Diabetes Canada & City of Winnipeg
Textile Recycling
Everything! Clothing, shoes, towels, sheets, including those that are worn out, full of holes, stains, grease, etc. Please make sure items are dry and/or bagged. These are dark blue boxes with “Textile Recycling” on the front. Watch for boxes run by different organizations, which may accept different items! Find a Diabetes Canada box near you.
Value Village, Salvation Army, & Goodwill To the best of our knowledge, these organizations will accept all items (clothing, shoes, towels,sheets, etc), including those that are worn out/stained. We recommend bagging these items separately and labelling. Note that Salvation Army and Goodwill are nonprofits, and Value Village is a for-profit corporation. Diabetes Canada sells items collected in their boxes to Value Village.
H&M Stores All clothing items, regardless of brand or condition. With a drop off of clothing, you receive an H&M gift card. Although H&M is an icon of fast fashion, we have to commend them for considering the end of life of their products.
Patagonia, Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe, and other brand-specific takeback programs Patagonia only accepts Patagonia-brand items, but will accept ALL Patagonia-brand items. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe accepts Nike brand shoes only and is not available to Canadian customers at this time. It’s always worth checking if your favourite brand has a return program, and asking them to start one if they don’t – customer pressure makes a difference!
Are we missing anything? Let us know! Email us at


Want to learn more? Check out this great video from Australia’s ABC TV, or read these articles from CBC!

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below, and we can help even more people reduce their textile impact!

Don’t miss it! Read Part One of this series to rethink, reduce, and reuse your textiles!