If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you can donate your old socks, even if they’ve already lived a long, full life, step away from that trash can because the answer is a resounding YES.
While you probably know just where to bring your gently used shoes, handbags and coats, socks don’t often remain in usable condition long enough to have a new life with someone else. However, that doesn't mean that you can’t donate them. It simply means they might not always be able to be donated for their original purpose.
Donating Used Socks
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, landfills received 11.2 million tons (!) of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2017. The main source of textiles in MSW is discarded clothing, including all of those holey socks that people didn’t think could ever be donated! Thankfully, there are services you can use and places you can bring your old socks where they won’t contribute to the environmental threat of textile waste.
- Terracycle is a zero waste solution that allows you to recycle fabric or textile-based fabrics, including clothing. The items they collect are reused, upcycled or recycled.
- H&M has launched their own sustainability initiative, collecting most types of clothing (including socks) from any brand to be reworn, reused or recycled depending on their condition.
- Simple Recycling is a company that salvages damaged or worn items, including socks, for their raw materials. Who knows? Your old socks may get new life as a new pair!
- Goodwill has thousands of locations across the United States, many of which accept all sorts of different textiles, including gently worn socks, to be reused or recycled based on their condition.
Whereas organizations may have discarded or simply rejected donations of old socks in the past, several of them have now adopted sustainable practices that support the recycling and upcycling of items that can no longer be used for their original purpose. Search your local area online or ask your neighbors to find additional options near you.
Giving Old Socks New Life
If you’re not ready to relinquish your old socks and send them for recycling just yet, there are so many different things you can do with them to give them a new life and purpose.
Here are some creative ideas for what to do with old socks:
- Get crafty by turning old socks into can koozies, sock puppets or coffee sleeves to keep your hands comfortable.
- You already know the moisture-wicking material is effective. Turn your old socks into exercising accessories like sweatbands or leg warmers.
- Reuse socks by making them into rags for cleaning, a heating pad for soothing tired muscles (just fill with rice and microwave!) or even a stretchy scrunchie for your hair.
- Turn them into a sock snake, a colorful stuffed animal (like an adorable sock monkey!) or a hobby horse for the little ones in your life.
- Have a collection of cool socks that are missing their match? Pair complementary styles for a trendy, intentionally mismatched look that shows off your personality.
It’s empowering to be able to give your old socks a new life without having to send them away to somewhere else, never to be seen again. By practicing upcycling within your own home, you’re helping to lower your carbon footprint and lessen your environmental impact.
Donating New Socks
At The Sock Drawer, charitable giving is at the core of who we are. We believe that the cool and super funny socks that make our customers smile should also get the chance to spread the same joy and comfort to those who need it most, but might not necessarily be able to afford it. Since new, clean socks are often in high demand by nonprofits, we love that we can donate and share our love for socks.
If you have unworn socks that you’d like to share, consider donating them to organizations that are dedicated to sock collection — like Knock Knock, Give a Sock, Socks for Souls, Inc. or The Joy of Sox — or contact your local homeless shelter to find out where you can deliver your donation.
Stepping Toward Sustainability
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “... but can you donate socks?” you know now that you absolutely can. Whether you’re donating new pairs of cool socks for men or women in need, or upcycling or recycling gently used pairs that have already lived a good life, you’re helping to lower your carbon footprint and support a more sustainable planet.