Recycle T-Shirts: 5 Unique And Money-Saving Ideas

Ricardo Seco 13 Oct, 2023 Blog

T-shirts, whether emblazoned with nostalgic prints or stained with the wear and tear of countless adventures, often hold a special place in our hearts. But there comes a time when we need to part with these beloved items. Instead of tossing them away, why not embrace the concept of recycle t-shirt to give them a new life? From innovative DIY projects to sustainable recycling programs, there’s a world of possibilities waiting for your old tees.

How to recycle t-shirts

Before you decide to part ways with T-shirt cherished memories, consider giving them a second life. The beauty of upcycling is that it allows you to reimagine and reinvent, turning something old into something uniquely yours.

Braid Your Tees into Vibrant Home Decor

Harness the colors and designs of your old t-shirts to create one-of-a-kind baskets, bowls, or rugs. To begin, simply cut your tees into long strips. Braid these strips together, ensuring a tight weave, and then coil and sew them. These whimsical creations can be strategically placed around your home, adding a touch of personalized charm to any room.


Fashion Your Own Trendy Headbands

Recycled t-shirt headbands are a fun and stylish way to upcycle your old clothes. They’re also incredibly comfortable and versatile, making them perfect for any occasion. To make a recycled t-shirt headband, simply cut a strip of fabric from an old t-shirt. The width of the strip will depend on how wide you want your headband to be.

Once you have your strip of fabric, you can either sew it together to create a loop, or tie it around your head. If you’re looking for some inspiration, there are many online tutorials that can show you how to make different styles of t-shirt headbands. You can also let your creativity run wild and experiment with different techniques and designs.

recycling shirts


Craft Macramé-Style Plant Hangers

Elevate your indoor plants with macramé-style hangers crafted from your old tees. It’s a delightful project that doesn’t demand hours – in fact, you can have a brand new plant hanger in under half an hour! It’s the ideal DIY project for a cozy evening or a crafty get-together with friends. So, gather your old shirts, some plants, and let’s breathe new life into those tees!

what to do with old tshirts

Turn Tees into Stylish Workout Tank Tops

Don’t spend on new gym wear when your old t-shirt can get a stylish makeover. With a few strategic cuts, transform your tee into a fashionable racerback tank top, ideal for your workout sessions. The best part? No need for sewing kits or glues – it’s all about repurposing creatively. So, flex those DIY muscles and prep yourself for the gym with your revamped attire.

what to do with old shirts

Craft Eco-Friendly Dog Toys from Old Tees

Pets have a way of making old things feel new again. Channel this magic by converting your worn-out t-shirts into fun, sustainable toys for your furry buddy. Twist, tie, and braid to create playful toys that will not only be gentle on their gums but also eco-friendly. Dive into some DIY dog toy tutorials using t-shirt fabric and discover your pet’s next favorite plaything. It’s a win-win: sustainable and sure to bring joy to your pup!

repurposing t shirts

Design Modern Patchwork Pillows with a Twist

Move over traditional t-shirt quilts; it’s time to get a bit more modern. Instead of the usual t-shirt quilt patterns, why not craft a chic patchwork pillow that blends nostalgia with contemporary design? Mix and match patches from different t-shirts to achieve a unique pattern. The result? A stunning cushion that seamlessly fits into modern home decor while preserving the essence of your memories.

upcycle tshirt

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Crafting Comfy Shorts from T-Shirts

Give your old tee a summer makeover by transforming it into a pair of cozy, casual shorts perfect for lounging.  Start by slicing the t-shirt horizontally, approximately four inches beneath the armpits. Detach the sleeves, and you’ve got the preliminary shape of your new shorts ready. Fold and sew the edges of each leg opening to avoid fraying. Additionally, stitch the sides to secure the shape. For a polished look, finish the raw edges with serging or zigzag stitches. Introduce an elastic waistband for a snug fit, and there you have it—comfortable, custom-made shorts!

upcycle old t shirts

Creating Versatile Tote Bags from Tees

Repurpose your beloved graphic tees into handy tote bags, ideal for your market runs or as unique gift bags. Choose a t-shirt with a design you love. The more vibrant, the better. Cut two squares of equal size from the t-shirt. These will form the body of the tote bag. Utilize the remaining fabric, perhaps from the sleeves or hem, to create durable handles. Sew them securely to the squares. Sew the squares together, attaching the handles in the process, and behold—your tote bag is ready for use!

Recycle t-shirts into totes

How to recycle t-shirts through the clothing recycling program

Our planet is currently facing the dilemma of overwhelming textile waste, with a significant portion sadly finding its way to landfills. In response to this urgent crisis, many progressive companies have launched initiatives to recycle t-shirts. These programs not only promote the importance of responsible recycling but also encourage participation by providing rewards and store credits. Let’s dive deeper into the realm of t-shirt recycling and discover some of these eco-friendly endeavors.

For Days

For Days stands as a beacon in sustainable fashion. Dedicated to zero waste, this brand has seamlessly merged organic principles with 100% recyclable offerings. How can you be a part of their vision? It’s simple:

recycle t shirt for day
  • Head to their website and request a Take Back Bag. This ingenious initiative welcomes old clothing items from any brand, with the sole condition that they’re clean and exclude undergarments.
  • Depending on the size of the bag you fill—be it small, medium, or large—you stand to earn credit ranging from $6 to $20. It’s a rewarding approach, ensuring that both you and the environment benefit.

Marine Layer’s Re-Spun

Marine Layer, with its deep-seated commitment to eco-friendly practices, presents the Re-Spun program, exclusively dedicated to t-shirt recycling.

recycle t shirt Marine Layer's Re-Spun
  • Simply navigate to the Re-Spun section on Marine Layer’s website and request a prepaid mailer. This lets you ship your old t-shirts back to them, hassle-free.
  • For every t-shirt you send their way, Marine Layer credits your account with $5. While the maximum credit is capped at $25, the good news is that there’s no limit on donations. This means you can continuously play a part in their sustainable journey.

Phoenix Fibers

Phoenix Fibers, a distinguished textile fiber converter nestled in the Southwestern United States, has carved a niche for itself in sustainable recycling. Their notable contributions include:

recycle t shirt Phoenix Fibers
  • Massive Textile Recycling: Every month, Phoenix Fibers impressively transforms over 300 tons of textile waste into a recyclable material termed “shoddy.” This material finds its way into diverse products, ranging from insulation to mattresses.
  • Philanthropic Partnerships: Their collaboration with Bonded Logic showcases a heartwarming facet of their operations. Insulation crafted from “shoddy” is generously donated to Habitat for Humanity, underscoring Phoenix Fibers’ commitment to both the environment and community welfare.

To contribute to their commendable mission, you can reach out to Phoenix Fibers via their website and explore options to donate your textile goods.


Donating remains one of the simplest yet most impactful ways to repurpose your old t-shirts.

recycle t shirt Donation
  • Local Thrift Stores: Consider dropping off your tees at your nearby Goodwill or similar thrift stores. These establishments play a pivotal role in extending the lifecycle of clothing while supporting community initiatives.
  • Planet Aid Donation Bins: Specifically designed for textile donations, these bins can be easily located in many areas.
  • Community Organizations: Many community-focused establishments, such as churches, shelters, and outreach centers, are often in need of clothing donations. Before proceeding, it’s always a good idea to call or visit their online platforms to understand their current requirements and donation protocols.


The movement to recycle t-shirt materials is more than just a trend—it’s a testament to our collective responsibility toward sustainable fashion. By choosing to recycle and upcycle, we not only prolong the life of beloved tees but also reduce our environmental footprint. Ricardo Seco exemplifies this commitment by promoting sustainable practices in fashion.

We urge our readers to explore Ricardo Seco Shop‘s website, where artistry meets responsibility. There, you’ll discover not just a stunning collection of T-shirts, but also a wealth of information that underscores the importance of sustainability in the modern fashion world. Remember, every time you recycle t-shirt materials or support brands that do, you’re making a statement for a greener tomorrow.