Create a Zero-Waste Bedroom

Learn how to recycle old clothes and shoes to create a zero-waste bedroom.

| May 2014

  • When creating a zero-waste bedroom, take laundry into consideration. Use a clothesline to get soft, clean-smelling laundry, and opt for liquid fabric softener — or better yet, skip softener completely.
    Photo by Fotolia/Sandra Cunningham
  • Amy Korst offers lessons and tips for sustainable, low-impact living based on her own yearlong experiment in “The Zero-Waste Lifestyle.”
    Cover courtesy Ten Speed Press

Trash is a big, dirty problem. The average American tosses out nearly 2,000 pounds of garbage every year. The Zero-Waste Lifestyle (Ten Speed Press, 2012) is a guide to a healthier, happier and more sustainable life by way of creating less trash. Author Amy Korst used lessons from her yearlong experiment in zero-waste living to offer hundreds of simple ideas and low-impact tips. Eliminate the unnecessary from life and help preserve the planet’s future. In the excerpt that follows, learn how to recycle old clothing and revamp your laundry room to create a zero-waste bedroom.

This book can be purchased from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Zero-Waste Lifestyle.

How to Create a Zero-Waste Bedroom


Clothes are not what you usually think about when considering trash produced in your household, because clothes are not usually a weekly addition to the garbage can. There will come a time, however, when some article of clothing needs to be demoted from the closet. Before tossing that holey sock or stained sweatshirt, consider reusing the fabric for another household chore—perhaps cutting old clothing into rags for cleaning.

You might be wondering if clothing trash is really an important thing to worry about. The answer depends on the type of fabric the clothing is made from, whether it is synthetic or natural. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are biodegradable, but lots of today’s fabric is made from petroleum-based polymers—this includes fabric like nylon and polyester. These fabrics pose the same problem as plastic, which is that they never truly go away. Luckily, used clothing is much easier to deal with than other plastics, such as an empty water bottle or an old guitar pick. After you are finished wearing an article of clothing, it’s not usually trash. Someone else could wear that old sweatshirt, or you can reuse it in any number of ways.

Once Clothing Wears Out

6/16/2014 8:56:58 AM

Those are great ideas for reducing one's footprint & here's some more. When you're done with the old cleaning rags why not toss them in the compost pile instead of the landfill. And do the same with dryer lint as the birds love it. Then there's people like me who haven't owned or used a dryer since 1986 even though my son has offered to buy me one on several occasions. I love to line dry my clothes & do this most of the year. When it's raining or too cold, I use my wooden fold up racks. So there are always alternatives.

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