Textile Waste

Textile waste is a huge issue, affecting environments and communities locally and globally, and wasting an enormous amount of precious resources. One of the main focuses of our work here at Stitched Up is finding ways to tackle this problem.

Read on to find out how we do that, and how you can help.

Wasted resources

Most mass-produced clothing and textiles require a huge amount of human and natural resources to produce. It is estimated that making just 1kg of fabric generates an average of 23kg of greenhouse gas emissions.1 Around 70% of fashion’s GHG emissions arise during raw material production, processing and manufacturing.2 When we discard these materials, we lose all of the embodied energy that has gone into making them.


When breaking down in landfill, the natural materials in textiles give off methane and CO2– two greenhouse gases which are the main contributors to global warming because they trap heat in the atmosphere.3 Meanwhile, the synthetic fibres in our clothes such as polyester, spandex and nylon will not break down, but may take between 20 – 200 years to break up.4

Decomposing waste in landfill also releases a liquid called leachate, which seeps into the surrounding ground or groundwater. Due to the vast number of chemicals involved in the manufacture of clothing, this leachate will include a cocktail of chemicals, from dyes to fabric treatments such as water or stain repellency. Newer landfill sites have systems to capture this leachate, but older, unlined sites still release it.5

Besides both of these issues, textile waste also takes up a lot of space in landfill. This would not be necessary if other routes to reuse or recycling could be found.


Incineration, another way to dispose of unwanted textiles, releases harmful substances including dioxins, heavy metals including cadmium and mercury, dust particles and acid gases such as sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid, all of which can be harmful to human health. They also release CO2 when burning fossil fuel-based waste such as plastic.6

Waste colonialism

A significant amount of the clothing donated to charities and waste sorting facilities here in the UK end up in the global south, where they create an enormous and unjust burden for local people. They overwhelm landfills, pile up on beaches, in the desert and in the ocean, and harm the trade of local secondhand clothing sellers or upcyclers, due to their low resale value and the poor quality of the materials. See the impact this is having in Ghana and Chile.

We think it’s vital that we tackle our own textile waste here in the UK, by finding routes to repair, reuse and upcycle it, so that it gets to live as many more lives as possible before being recycled.

At Stitched Up, we focus on finding routes for the reuse of textiles and sewing supplies.

In 2022 we diverted 3 tonnes of textiles from landfill.

For more than a decade, we have been diverting textile waste from landfill and making it available for creative reuse. Our customers can buy reclaimed materials and craft supplies in our shop, and we also use them in our workshops and community projects, where we bring people together to socialise and learn new life skills.

We are a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society, and as such, any profits we make are reinvested for the benefit of the community.

By donating fabrics to us, not only are you keeping textiles out of landfill, but you are also helping to support our community activities, all of which aim to inspire local people to take action on sustainable fashion, in whatever way they can. These activities include; our free repair cafe, film club, free and subsidised youth and wellbeing craft sessions and outreach activities.

We do make a small charge for certain donations. This is a contribution towards our time to process your donations and the cost of recycling any unusable donations.

We Accept

  • Fabric rolls (or end of rolls)
  • Fabric remnants
  • Fabric scraps (> A4 size)
  • Yarn
  • Felting tops
  • Leather
  • Haberdashery (pins, needles, buttons, trims etc)
  • Sewing / knitting patterns, books and magazines

We Do Not Accept

  • Sewing machines
  • Clothes
  • Half-finished sewing projects (we barely have time to finish our own!)
  • Handmade items
  • Stained or damaged fabrics or sewing supplies

Choose An option

We accept donations from companies. Donating your surplus fabrics to us ensures they stay out of landfill and in circulation, and helps to support our community activities.


  • Fabrics on the roll: FREE
  • Fabric remnants over 1/2 metre: FREE
  • Small pieces of fabric under 1/2 metre: £1/kilo
  • Sample fabrics on card or plastic: £3/kilo

How to donate

Complete the short form below to arrange an appointment to drop your donation off with us.


Interested in shopping our fabrics and sewing supplies for your projects?

We offer private shopping appointments for arts professionals.


  • Donations of fabric on the roll, remnants or sewing supplies: FREE
  • Recycle your small fabric scraps with us: £1/kg

How to donate

Small donations from individuals can be dropped off at our Stretford shop during opening times. We will sort through the donation with you present so that we can reject anything we are unable to take.


Interested in shopping our fabrics and sewing supplies for your personal projects?

Visit our shop when it’s open or arrange a private shopping appointment.