Recycling Old Towels & Linens

Archived Responses: 

Questions Related Pages

What to do with old sheets & towels?

March 2012

What does one do with old sheets (w/holes in them) and old towels?? We have too many rags and not enough space and would like to pass along to a place that could use them. I believe the SPCA used to take stuff like this, but not sure anymore. anon

I don't know if they take sheets, but local wildife rehab centers are often in need of old towels and pillow cases. They are used as bedding for the animals and for general clean-up. Try contacting the wildlife hospital at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, or Wildcare in San Rafael. Cristina
I'm pretty certain most animal shelters, or rescue organizations will take sheets and towels. Call Milo Foundation, ARF, East Bay SPCA,...They're all in need. Thanks for asking. anon
I recently brought a big bag of old sheets & towels to the Berkeley Humane Society on 9th St & they happily took my donation. reduce, reuse, recycle
Oakland Animal Services is ALWAYS looking for donations of towels, blankets, quilts, bathmats, small rugs, and flannel sheets to be used as dog bedding. Most of the dogs do not have beds to elevate them off the concrete floors, so the staff folds up towels and the like to create a soft place for the dogs to lie. For directions and hours see: Dog Volunteer

Disposing of old used pillows

Jan 2009

I am wondering if anyone has recommendations of how or where to dispose of or donate old/used bed pillows. I hate to throw them away, but am trying to par down and don't want to hang onto them forever. Much appreciated for any ideas. anon

I just donated some old blankets and t-shirts to the Oakland Zoo education center for animal enrichment activities. You could see if they would take old pillows also. asymetry
How about your local Humane Society or animal rescue? An old pillow would make a very comfy bed for a cat or small dog.

Old towels, sheets, clothing too worn out to give away

Aug 2004

I have a bunch of old clothes, towels and sheets that are too worn out to use or give away. My mother tells me that when she was a kid, the rag man used to come by and collect old clothes and material for recycling. I would love to find a use for these things, as I don't want to simply throw them in the trash and I don't have the space to store them. If any of you can suggest a place to bring them for recycling -- or if you have any other ideas for what to do with them -- that would be great. Thanks so much -- Amy

I'm not sure about the clothes or sheets, but the East Bay SPCA can always use towels for making cozy beds in the cages. You can drop them off at the following location:
Oakland SPCA 8323 Baldwin Street Oakland, CA 94602 510-569-0702
Dogs for the Blind up in Marin County appreciates towels for washing and drying the dogs there. Used towels are just fine. anon
you can donate worn sheets, towels, etc to bay area animal shelters, who will use (and re-use!) them to give homeless cats soft bedding. speaking for the san francisco spca- I can say that old washcloths are not big enough to be useful, and please only machine-washable fabrics. You can get a donation receipt for tax purposes, as well as knowing you are helping the animals! dilara
My favorite resource for questions like this is - you can get all sorts of info on recycling and environmentally concious products and services. Two suggestions would be to contact the following organizations. At garage sales we've had there's always been a good demand for old sheets and towels as people use them for rags, drop cloths, etc., so the following groups might have a similar need or can direct you elsewhere. East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse 6713 San Pablo Ave., (510) 547- 6470 SCRAP = (415) 647-1746 anon
1. Even if they are too worn for human use, animal shelters may welcome the towels (and possibly other textiles). 2. I can't guarantee that they will, in fact, be recycled, but I know Goodwill industries does accept textile scrap at many of its locations. According to their official web site, ''... some member Goodwills recycle old clothing scraps into industrial wipes (cleaning cloths) for industrial buyers''. I believe they may also sell it as mixed textile scrap for low-quality fill (carpet padding, padded mailing envelopes, etc.) I generally put them in a large bag clearly labelled ''TEXTILE SCRAP'', drop them at the Goodwill trailer at the El Cerrito Recycling Center, and hope for the best. R.K.
The Oakland SPCA can always use clean rags for animal care. I've given them several bags full over the past year through a neighbor who volunteers there. You can call the SPCA for details, or email me and I'll put you in touch with my neighbor if you like. jppost
I'm not sure about the clothes (I've got a few bags myself), but most animal shelters, rescue groups, etc., would gladly take the towels and sheets. I''ve donated some to the East Bay Humane Society and the SF SPCA, and I'm sure Milo, Hopalong, ARF, and almost any other such organization could use them. Towels are always needed after oil spills to help clean birds and other wildlife, so you may check with some wildlife or bird rescue/rehab places as well (eg. Lindsay Wildlife, Internat'l. Bird Rescue in Berkeley at Aquatic Park). Tracy