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Jeans are remarkably sturdy and durable. They are meant to be. They were specifically invented to be long-lasting because they were originally worn by American miners who roughed and toughed it out at work. Even if you somehow manage to tear your jeans, given the fashion of today, they can still be worn. There is even a name for such ripped jeans – distressed.
But what if you have outgrown your jeans or they have gone out of style? Typically, you might toss them into the trash. But you would probably have heard why that may not be the best option. Garbage in Singapore is either recycled or incinerated. The ash from the waste that is burnt is then sent to the country’s only landfill – Semakau. The world’s first manmade landfill, Semakau is expected to run out of space for our trash by 2035.
Instead of adding to the woes of an already fractured earth, we give you some great ideas on what to do with your old jeans.
This is a programme that Levi’s, the world’s first jeans maker, came up with. Almost every year, Levi’s gives away $50 discount vouchers that can be spent on their Levi’s jeans for every pair of old jeans of any brands you give to them. The old clothes are then donated to charities supported by Levi’s.
You may not want your jeans any more but that does not mean that someone else cannot love them. You can always give away your old jeans.
The Swedish retailer has an ongoing programme where you can drop off clothes and textiles from any brand, in any condition at any H&M outlet’s garment collecting boxes, no questions asked. In return, you get a 15% discount voucher to be used during your next visit.
H&M sorts out the donations. What can be used will be sold as second-hand clothes. Those that are too raggedy to be reused are recycled. They are turned into new clothes, insulating material for the auto industry or damping, or cleaning cloths
This second-hand goods store is run by the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO). Stocked with pre-loved clothes, some going for as low as $1, the proceeds from all sales go to Star Shelter, a temporary refuge for women and children who are victims of domestic violence and to other SVWO activities. You can drop off your old jeans, clothes, books, toys, bags, accessories, shoes and even kitchenware at their 96 Waterloo Street store.
This charity is run by The Salvation Army Church and reaches out to the underprivileged including families in need, ailing aged who require nursing care, and children who need care and protection. You can drop off your old jeans, clothes, furniture, household goods, electronic devices, stationery, toys, and books at their many locations. They even have door-to-door collection services for bulk items and large appliances available for a donation of $60 per collection.
The Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) is a voluntary welfare organisation dedicated to the well-being and betterment of people with intellectual disabilities, helping them to integrate into society. They run four thrift shops staffed by their members. These shops give the intellectually disabled a chance to be trained in and practice important vocational skills – sorting and stocking items, interacting with customers - as well as to earn an allowance. The proceeds from the sales help fund MINDS activities. To stock their shops, MINDS relies on donated items. Your pre-loved denims will not only go to a good home, they will be doing a good deed, too.
It is so easy to buy new things that we often forget that there is another way to treat our jeans when they rip or spoil – repair them. If you are so inclined, you can do it yourself. Levi’s has a video teaching you how.
Otherwise, you can bring your jeans to any regular tailor who will be more than equipped to handle most repairs. There are also jeans repair specialists you can turn to. JeansFix.com will solve all your jeans-related problems – shortening, tapering, alternations, repair and redesign. Some labels offer repairs for their jeans. Nudie Jeans is one of them and they do it for free.
Your old jeans can go to this Buddhist charity as well. Every second Sunday of the month almost 40 void decks, communal pavilions and activity areas around the island are turned into recycling points where you can drop off your pre-loved denims, among other things.
In addition, you can drop off your jeans at their Eco-Awareness Centre on any weekday from 9am to 1pm and Saturday from 9am to 4pm; every Thursday morning at their Bukit Ho Swee Recycling Point; and every second Thursday night at their Tiong Bahru Recycling Point. The items dropped off are sold to recycling merchants who will ship them to countries to be sold for reuse or send them to factories to be recycled.
Metta is a charitable society with 10 welfare centres designed to help various sectors of society – children, disabled, special needs, elderly and ill. They accept pre-used clothes which you can drop off at their building. The clothing, along with other donated items, are sent to their recycling partner which will match their money donations to Metta according to the weight of the recyclable items given.
Greensquare offers textile recycling services to households and organisations in Singapore for free. Apart from their collection points, they also do home collections. Simply contact them, and they will come and collect the items from you provided that you are donating 10kg and more, or two full large black trash bags worth. The items – clothes, shoes, linen, belts and bags – are sorted. Those that can still be used are resold to second-hand textile importers in developing countries. The rest are recycled as industrial cleaning cloth. 5% of their annual profits are donated to a local children’s charity.
Your old jeans can be turned into something else that you can wear. Cut them shorter to make shorts or capri pants, turn them into denim skirts, taper wider legs – there are plenty of options.
Your old jeans can be turned into other items. Bags, pencil cases, head bands, pot holders, scrunchies, place mats, organisers or book covers, slippers – there are videos and instructions galore to help you.
You can make a quick buck by selling your old jeans online. Lazada, Carousell and REFASH are some sites you can go to.