Benefits of Upcycling Old Clothes: Reduce Waste, Save Money & More

Model on runaway in upcycled clothes

Do you have clothes in your closet that you no longer wear or don’t fit into anymore? Instead of throwing them away, why not consider upcycling them? What does upcycling mean? Upcycling is taking an item that is no longer in use and giving it a new life. It is simply the act of recycling or reusing something in a way that increases the original object’s value.

Think of it like turning an old cardboard box into a cat house or a wine bottle into a vase. Upcycling clothes is an excellent way to extend the life of your wardrobe and contribute to a more sustainable planet. Let’s dive into the topic more and see what are the exact benefits of upcycling your old clothes.


sewing machine
Photo by Reuben Kim



Benefits of Upcycling Old Clothes

1. It Reduces Textile Waste and Conserves Raw Materials

According to (2019-202), 79 billion cubic meters of water were used by the textile and clothing industry in 2015. 2,700 liters of water are needed to produce one t-shirt. That’s enough drinking water for one person for 2.5 years! Textile production is estimated to be responsible for about 20% of global clean water pollution from dyeing and finishing products.

By upcycling old clothes, we can reduce these figures. It also reuses materials that may otherwise end up in the landfill in creative and innovative ways – producing original, often one-of-a-kind items from what many consider to be waste.


2. It Reduces the Amount of Water and Energy Needed to Produce New Clothing

The production of new clothing requires an immense amount of water and energy. It takes around 2,700 liters of water to produce a single cotton t-shirt. By upcycling old clothes, you are reducing the amount of water and energy needed to produce new clothing. Upcycling also helps reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry, which is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.


3. Your wallet will thank you

Upcycling old clothes is an innovative way to save money. Upcycling doesn’t require any fancy equipment or special skills – just a little bit of creativity and some basic sewing knowledge. By upcycling your clothes, you can save money on buying new clothes and reduce your overall spending.

An example of ways to upcycle your clothes includes using a t-shirt to make scrunchies and/or tote bags. The sky is your limit with upcycling.


piggy bank
Photo by QuinceCreative


4. Supports Local Production

When you upcycle your old clothes, you are supporting local production. Many upcycling projects can be done at home or with a local seamstress, which helps support small businesses in your community. By choosing to upcycle your clothes instead of buying new ones, you are contributing to the local economy and supporting sustainable practices.


5. More Unique Items That Others Don’t Have

One of the great things about upcycling old clothes is that you can create something new and unique that no one else has. Fast fashion has made clothing so accessible that it’s easy to end up with the same outfit as everyone else. Due to how affordable fast clothing is and how quickly trends come and go, the increase in clothing consumption has led to a significant increase in textile production. By upcycling your clothes, you can create one-of-a-kind pieces that express your individuality. 


6. Creativity Is Good for the Soul

Using old clothing to upcycle can not only be therapeutic, but it can also be a good thing for the soul as well. The opportunity gives you the chance to experiment with different fabrics, textures, and colors, and freshly express your creativity. Through upcycling, you can turn a t-shirt into a headband and a bag. Amazing right?


7. It Helps Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

As you upcycle your old clothes, you reduce the need for new clothing. This in turn reduces the impact of the manufacturing and shipping of new clothing on the environment. By upcycling, you can help reduce not only the amount of energy and resources needed to create new clothes but also the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.




Overall, upcycling old clothes is a great way to extend the life of your wardrobe while contributing to a more sustainable environment. Textile waste is reduced, raw materials are conserved, money is saved, and the manufacturing process is localized. Plus, it’s a chance to express your creativity and create unique pieces that no one else has. So next time you’re cleaning out your closet, instead of throwing away your old clothes, consider upcycling them into something new and exciting! Sometimes upcycling won’t be possible and it’ll be necessary to buy new clothes. In that case, the second best choice for you, your wallet and the planet would be choosing second-hand

For more tips and tricks on how to live a more sustainable life, check out our magazine.