The National Association for Charitable Textile Recycling


A Best Practices Toolkit for
Community-Led Textile Reuse

Empowering Communities for a Sustainable Future

The consumption of textiles and household goods is a key contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. To combat this, there is a movement sweeping across Canada where citizens are igniting change and supporting the reuse of consumer goods and textiles through innovative community-based initiatives, such as free markets, clothing swaps, and repair cafes. Picture yourself at the heart of your neighborhood’s yard sale extravaganza, or rallying your community for a donation drive that leaves a lasting impact. By taking inspiration from these events, you have the power to spearhead your own transformative projects. Together, we can build a stronger, greener future while raising funds for those in need.

These community-driven efforts can be supported and expanded by community organizations and local governments, thus providing opportunities to advance municipal goals, build community, and potentially raise money for charitable entities.

NACTR Communities Make Differences.

Guide to Best Practices

Promote | Provide Space | Fund | Develop programs | Organize and Operate

Clothing Swaps

An event or gathering where participants bring good quality clothing that they no longer want for exchange with others who attend.

Yard Sales

Residents place unwanted items, including household goods and textiles, in their yard, on the sidewalk or another designated location, to be sold or given away.

Free Markets

Free markets accept donated items, which they make available to the public for free at a market-style event.

University Events

Some universities encourage students, staff and/or faculty to reuse items on campus. Move-in/out programs help students to donate items for use by future residents.

Initiatives Explored


Initiated and run by community organizations (e.g., neighbourhood associations, local nonprofits), local reuse leaders, institutions such as universities or places of worship, and/or local government. Community-led reuse initiatives may involve different levels of involvement and effort from local government, including initiatives entirely organized by local government, those where local government plays a supportive or coordinating role, and those which are entirely organized by community organizations.


Reuse diverts or delays items from entering the landfill by giving or selling them to others. We employ the term “reuse” broadly in this study, with awareness of the increasing popularity of the term “reuseables” to refer specifically to reusable containers (e.g., for to-go food and beverages). This project is focused on items of textiles and household goods that can continue to be used once their owners no longer want them. Items might be reused in their original state (e.g., a sweater in good condition, a functioning kitchen appliance) or might be repurposed into something else (e.g., old curtains into cushion covers, electronic components into jewelry).

Charitable Benefit

Advance the purposes of charitable organizations, which may include social programs, health research, environmental protection, etc. In this study, charitable benefit is most often achieved through donations of textiles and household items, which charities sell to create revenue that funds their charitable programs. Charitable benefit may also be achieved through the donation of monetary proceeds (e.g., from yard sales).

Champion a Greener Future in Your Community

This comprehensive toolkit provides local governments and community organizations with the knowledge and resources needed to establish and expand successful textile reuse initiatives. From clothing swaps and repair cafes to free markets and donation drives, discover best practices to:

  • Reduce landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Build vibrant communities through collaborative action.
  • Support charities and social causes.

Fill out the form below to gain instant access to our free toolkit!

Download the Complete Community Toolkit