Recycling old clothes and shoes

old clothes recycling collection containers

Donating old/used clothes in Berlin: collection containers next to a super market in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin - Photo: T.Bortels/nuBerlin.com

In case you want to get rid of your old clothes and/or your old shoes – stuff that won’t fit or you don’t want to keep anymore, in Berlin there are of course various options. First of all: you could try to sell clothes – either sell them yourself on a flea market, or try to leave them at a thrift store.

Or if that is too much stress, and maybe you want to do some good, then you can of course always also donate your stuff. There are enough people in need for clothes and shoes that are still intact – and even if you can not always be 100% sure if your last-season garments really will be given to somebody in need, the recycling box may still still a convenient choice.  In detail:

  • Berlin flea markets: You may try to sell them on one of Berlin’s numerous Flea Markets. If you have visited a Berlin flea market before you may have noticed the booths with clothes and shoes. But be aware that this can become quite a time and nerves consuming ‘sport’. Either you manage to get a booth on one of the more popular flea markets – but that means you’ll probably have to be there very early and you’ll have to pay a fee that might eat up your profit. Or you try to sell your clothes and shoes on a not so heavy frequented flea market. You would still have to be there kind early and probably also still have to pay a fee – and of course it might be that you just won’t sell much. But on the other hand it can be quite an interesting Berlin experience.
  • Second hand shops: In some not so hip neighborhoods you may find a thrift store that is willing to buy your clothes and/or shows. But most of those shops will probably either be very selective about what they buy from you, or won’t pay much. Or both. Be aware that this can be eating time and nerves – but it may as well be a nice way to get to know Berlin from a different perspective.
  • Donating clothes and shoes: some organizations take worn clothes and give them to people who really need them. This can be especially helpful if you happen to have worn childrens’ clothes and shoes – but also homeless people are happy about donated clothes. Here is an overview of different organizations in Berlin that take such direct donations.
  • Containers: The easiest maybe also the best solution to ‘just get rid’ of your old clothes and shoes without dumping them in the bin directly, are probably the old clothes collection containers that you may find on quite many streets across the city. These boxes are around 1.6m high (5 feet) and often covered with stickers and posters and are often located close to some super market. It is certainly uncertain whether the clothes will be donated to people who would need them most, or sold in the next big thrift store (e.g. ‘Humana’) since often the original logos, texts and signs are covered. But anyways: you can be sure that your clothes and shoes will be checked and will be recycled either way. Clothes and shoes should first be cleaned, then put in a bag – a plastic bag will do. Shoes should also be tied together by the laces, or otherwise attached to each other to that pairs won’t get separated. To operate the container you just have to pull down the lid by the handle. (The container on the left in the photo below has the lid pulled down.) Then you put your bag into the hatch. Push up the handle (as you can see on the right container) and you’re done.

» Donating clothes and shoes (overview of different organizations in Berlin)
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Back to the main page about trash and recycling in Berlin.


Do you have and thoughts, suggestions, additional recommendations or comments? Please feel free to leave your comment below. Thank you!


2 thoughts on “Recycling old clothes and shoes

  1. t.b. Post author

    Hi,
    thank you for asking, but this is just a basic information website about Berlin – and this page is about “how and where to recycle clothes in Berlin” in particular. Neither do I sell nor buy old / used clothes.
    Cheers! t

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