Textiles and Clothing

What are Textiles?

Textiles are things made from fibres such as curtains, clothes, towels, cushions and bedding…. Textiles can be made from natural or man-made fibres.

Natural Fibres – from plants

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Silk
  • Wool
  • Hemp
  • Bamboo

Man-Made Fibres

  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Acrylic

If they are in good condition most textiles can be reused or recycled into new things like pillow stuffing, cleaning cloths, carpet padding, baseball fillings and even new clothes. It made TOCK unhappy to hear that most people simply throw clothes in the rubbish bin when they no longer want them.

It is thought that possibly 80% of textiles people throw away end up in landfill or are burned. The equivalent of 1 rubbish truck of textiles go to landfill or is burned every second.

In the same time as it takes you to say the name TOCK imagine another truck load of textiles are thrown away.

In the landfill clothes and other textiles / fabrics do not break down (decompose) very quickly mixed in with all the other rubbish. It can take anything from 40 – 200 years for some fabrics to disappear. As the fabric breaks down a gas called Methane is released which is bad for the Earth.

But don’t worry there are lots of things you and your family can do to make things better. Here are some of TOCK‘s top tips on how you can help:-


  1. Buy less clothing.
  2. Ask an adult help you repair any slightly damaged clothes – perhaps by covering a hole in your favourite top with a stylish patch….
  3. If your clothing is still in good condition your family could give them to friends or family to use.
  4. Sell unwanted clothing in a garage sale…
  5. Donate clothes to a local charity shop
  6. Reinvent a new way to use your clothes such as making an old t-shirt into a cool bag – See our Fun craft page (shoulder bag) for more information.
  7. Cut up old cotton tops to make cleaning cloths.
  8. Put unwanted clothing and textiles into specially marked textile recycling bins.
  9. Also tell your family not to throw out old curtains – suggest they donate them to local schools or theatres – who might be able to use the curtains in their next school / theatre production.

Amazing fact… 616 million socks are thrown away everyday in the UK alone.

Learn about some creative ways to reuse textiles below: SIMPLY CLICK ON THE PICTURE

Activity 1: Shoulder Bag

Make a shoulder bag from an old t-shirt

Activity 2: Glove

Make finger-less gloves from old socks

Activity 3: Glove Puppet

Make Sock Puppets from odd / old socks

REMEMBER recycling or reusing old clothes SAVES water, energy, farmland and reduces pollution which all help to keep the Earth healthy and the future bright.