Clothing and other textile waste in Brisbane

Clothes, footwear, sheets, towels, blankets and other household textiles are part of our everyday lives. Reducing and reusing textiles to keep them in circulation for as long as possible will minimise their impact and save your household money.  When it comes time to dispose of these items, there are a lot of things you can do to keep them out of landfill.


How can you reduce textile waste?

We all wear clothes and use textiles, which means we all play a vital role in slowing down 'fast fashion' and contributing to a more sustainable Brisbane.


Prioritise second-hand over new, fast fashion.

Read top tips to prevent textile waste by buying less, restyling or mending your clothes and buying second-hand.

Use these tips to help prevent textile waste

  • Think - 'do I really need this item?' before you buy anything.
    • Manage the impulse to buy by unfollowing social media accounts, unsubscribing from e-newsletters and deleting apps that encourage you to shop. It's not a bargain if you don't need it!
  • Buy second-hand:
    • online via eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, The Closet, Nextdoor app, or other local share apps
    • visit a Council Treasure Trove in Acacia Ridge or Geebung
    • visit your local op shop, charity store, or local market (e.g. Suitcase Rummage).
  • Learn the basics of clothing care, repair and upcycling with Fixing Fashion or get your clothes professionally altered so you can love them longer
  • Restyle your existing clothing or home furnishings.

If you need to buy new:

  • choose high-quality, versatile clothing over cheap, poorly made, fast fashion items. These items might cost more but often last longer.
  • choose clothes that are made of natural fibres such as cotton, linen, wool, silk, hemp or bamboo. Avoid buying mixed fibre clothing, unless the mixed fibres are natural. Synthetic materials including polyester, nylon and elastane are made from non-renewable fossil fuels. 
  • choose clothes that are made in Australia, even better if you can buy Brisbane made.

Sell or donate your unwanted clothes and textiles.

Put your textiles back into circulation by selling, donating, or swapping them to keep them out of landfill.

Tips to help you circulate clothing/textiles

  • Sell or donate your unwanted clothes and textiles that are in good condition. You can do this:
    • online on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, The Closet, depo, Nextdoor app, or other local share apps
    • at local op shops, charity stores and local markets (e.g. Suitcase Rummage)
    • at one of Council's Resource Recovery Centres for resale at the Treasure Troves in Acacia Ridge and Geebung.
  • Gift your preloved clothes to family and friends.
  • Host a clothes swap with friends to freshen up your wardrobe without buying new clothing. See tips on how to hold a clothing swap on the Biome website.
  • Donate running shoes in good condition to Shoes for Planet Earth who deliver them to people in need around Australia.

Upcycle your existing clothes and textiles

Repurpose unwanted clothes and textiles.

Tips to repurpose clothes/textiles

  • Upcycle your old textiles into serviettes, handkerchiefs, scrunchies or cleaning cloths/rags.
  • Be inspired by the Japanese art of furoshiki and wrap gifts in fabric or scarves.
  • Keep fabric scraps for repairing clothes.
  • Donate fabric and textiles to Reverse Garbage - ring them first before dropping off items.
  • Donate fabric to Boomerang Bags where volunteers will make reusable shopping bags.
  • Donate fabric to Days for Girls to make washable pads for women and girls around the world.
  • Donate old towels, sheets and blankets to local animal shelters, vets, mechanics and painters. 

Recycle unwanted clothing or textiles

If you can't repurpose unwanted clothing or textiles, consider recycling them.

Tips to recycle clothes/textiles

Drop off:

  • H&MZaraUniqlo – have garment drop off points in their stores.
  • Macpac and Patagonia have trade-in programs for their own pre-loved clothing where customers can return their worn-out or damaged clothing for store credit.
  • Tread Lightly and Havaianas have shoe and thong drop off points at participating retail locations 
  • Pre-loved sheets and towels (any brand) can be dropped off at Sheridan stores.
  • Send old bed sheets, clothes and shoes to Ecosa
  • Return your old boots to the Totally Workwear Boot recycling program when you buy new boots from them.



  • textiles made from natural fibres (including cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, wool, silk) can be added to your home compost or worm farm. Cut them up into small pieces and be sure to remove buttons and zippers first.


As a last resort, place your worn-out clothes and other textile waste in your general waste bin. 

Remember – when textiles are buried in landfill, it produces potent greenhouse emissions.

Textile waste facts

  • On average, every Australian buys 56 items of clothing each year
  • When combined with other household textiles, this comes to around 27 kilograms each year
  • While in the same year, we dispose of 23 kilograms of textiles per person per year. 
  • Australians are the second largest consumers of textiles globally, behind the United States. We consume twice the global average of fashion and textiles each year. 

Impacts of textile waste

Textile production, use and disposal contributes to:


  • It takes 2700 litres of water to produce a single t-shirt — that's enough drinking water for a person for 2.5 years.
  • Textile production is estimated to generate 20% of global clean water pollution from dyeing and finishing products. 
  • A single household laundry load of polyester clothes can discharge 700,000 microplastic fibres into the environment, which can then end up in food chains.

Greenhouse gases

  • Early estimates indicate that the carbon footprint of clothing in Australia could be as much as 13 million tonnes per year. 
  • The fashion industry is responsible for approximately 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.


  • In Brisbane in 2022-23 an estimated 14,730 tonnes of textile waste was sent to landfill from household general waste (red-lid) bins. 
  • Across Australia, about 300 kilotons of clothing is discarded each year, of which about 100 kilotons are sent to landfill and 200 kilotons are given to clothing donation or collection services. 
  • Of clothing donated in 2020-21, 35 kilotons went to landfill due to being poor quality or damaged. While 107 kilotons (nearly 60 per cent) were exported.

Find out more

Seamless, Australia’s first clothing product stewardship scheme launched in June 2023. Seamless aims to create a circular clothing industry by 2030, where responsible stewardship and citizenship are embedded across the entire clothing lifecycle. 

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