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Written by Elizabeth Jones   
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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Recycle Socks

Like most people, I have drawers of mismatched socks in every color and size. If you too have this problem, don’t worry…you need not wait around any longer for those long-lost socks to magically reappear. Instead, you can put those old socks to good use, and eliminate some of your clutter in the process. Here are a few ways to get the most out of the mismatched socks you have lying around in practical and crafty ways.

BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: By making things with your socks, you won’t be sending them to the landfill. In addition, when you make socks into practical things, you can then avoid buying new things. In doing so, you will avoid all of the environmental impacts associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, and shipping the item.

Cost: Low. If you’re like me, you probably have many extra socks lying around.1

Time and effort: Varies, low - medium, depending on the chosen project.

Easy Sock Recycling Projects
  1. Make a dust rag. Slip the sock on your hand. Dip the sock in some water or polish and clean away! Socks are good for cleaning all sorts of things, including furniture, windowsills, computer screens, floors, handles, and blinds.

  2. Make a drink cozy. Cut the top of a sock off and slide it over the bottom of a bottle, cup, or can to keep the liquid cool or warm.

  3. Keep a pet's paws warm. If you have a cat or dog that still wants to romp around on the ice, old socks can be helpful in keeping their paws warm.

    Use Socks to Keep Paws Warm 2

  4. Donate. Donate your used socks to the website ‘The Mismatched Sock’ ( They have a plan to repurpose socks in a big project.

  5. Soothe your sore muscles. Fill a sock with rice, wheat, or flaxseed, place it in the microwave for a minute, and place over sore muscles to relieve pain.3

  6. Make stuffing. If socks are clean, they can be shredded and used as stuffing in toys.
Medium Difficulty Sock Recycling Projects
  1. Make garden soap holders. Gardening can be a dirty task. One clever way to keep clean is to put a soap bar in the bottom of an old sock and tie it onto your garden faucet or spigot. The soap will be ready whenever you need a quick clean up.

  2. Outdoor Spigot Insulator. To prevent outdoor spigots from freezing and bursting in the cold winter months, you can use an old sock as an insulator. Cover the spigot and add a plastic bag to keep the sock dry.

  3. Make a homemade hacky sack. A hacky sack is a small cloth ball filled with small beads or beans. Cut a sock in half. Fill the sock with dried rice, dried peas, or beads. Sew the opening together in a ball shape.4

  4. Make Fingerless gloves. If you have a worn-out pair of socks, you can make a new pair of gloves by cutting a hole in each of the heels and cutting off the toes of the socks. Stick your thumb in the heel hole and your fingers out the toes. To fix the raw edges, tuck them under to the inside of the glove and sew a simple hem.5
Advanced Sock Recycling Projects
  1. Make a Stuffed Doll. You can make a sock monkey, sock puppet, or any other creation your heart desires.
    • For an easy version: Fill an old sock with beans or rice. Glue, sew, or draw on eyes, nose, and mouth. Cut up another old sock into strips and sew on for hair.

    • For a more advanced sock monkey version: Find two socks. Set one aside while you make the body. To make the body, cut the sock in half long ways from the toe to about the heel. Sew the ends up and you have two legs.

      Make A Stuffed Doll 6

      Stich around the body of the sock where you want the neck to be, and pull tightly to create the monkey head. Gather the top of the sock as well to round your head. Cut the second sock, and stich the pieces as shown in the pictures below.
    Sock Monkey Template        Stuffed Monkey Stitching 7;8
    Find more detailed instructions here:

    Finished Stuffed Monkey 9
  2. Sew a quilt. Making a quilt out of old socks gives them extra utility for years to come, as well as being meaningful if you use socks with fun patterns or designs that you can't bear to part with. To make the quilt, first turn the socks into rectangles: cut off the toes and along one of the sides of the sock. Spread open the socks and start sewing. To assure that the quilt does not end up lopsided, alternate the socks so that the toes face in opposite directions.10

  3. Make draft protectors. To reuse socks and be energy efficient at the same time, make a draft protector. Fill a long sock with beans, rice, or other spare filling. Sew or tie up one end and you have an instant draft protector that you can put on a windowsill or in the gap under doors. If you want to decorate the draft protector, you can make it into a creature: add eyes, nose, mouth and maybe feelers or whiskers.
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Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 May 2012 )


Green Facts

  • Current sea ice levels are at least 47% lower than they were in 1979.

  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch.

  • Recycling 100 million cell phones can save enough energy to power 18,500 homes in the U.S. for a year.

  • Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.

  • Recycling 1 million laptop computers can save the amount of energy used by 3,657 homes in the U.S. over the course of a year.

  • Recycling for one year at Stanford University saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

  • 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from burning fossil fuels.

  • A tree that provides a home with shade from the sun can reduce the energy required to run the air conditioner and save an additional 200 to 2,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime.

  • It takes 6,000,000 trees to make 1 year's worth of tissues for the world.

  • Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute.

  • A laptop consumes five times less electricity than a desktop computer.

  • Americans throw away more than 120 million cell phones each year, which contribute 60,000 tons of waste to landfills annually.

  • One recycled aluminum can will save enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.

  • You will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide for every 10,000 miles you drive if you always keep your car’s tires fully inflated.

  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.

  • 77% of people who commute to work by car drive alone.

  • Bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than equivalent stands of trees.

  • A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution, and mining wastes by about 70%.

  • Due to tiger poaching, habitat destruction, and other human-tiger conflicts, tigers now number around 3,200—a decrease in population by about 70% from 100 years ago.

  • Shaving 10 miles off of your weekly driving pattern can eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

  • You will save 100 pounds of carbon for each incandescent bulb that you replace with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), over the life of the bulb.

  • If every U.S. household turned the thermostat down by 10 degrees for seven hours each night during the cold months, and seven hours each weekday, it would prevent nearly gas emissions.

  • Less than 1% of electricity in the United States is generated from solar power.

  • States with bottle deposit laws have 35-40% less litter by volume.

  • You’ll save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle.

  • Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth can save as much as 10 gallons a day per person.

  • Nudge your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter to prevent 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

  • Washing your clothes in cold or warm instead of hot water saves 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and drying your clothes on a clothesline six months out of the year would save another 700 pounds.

  • In the United States, automobiles produce over 20 percent of total carbon emissions. Walk or bike and you'll save one pound of carbon for every mile you travel.

  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.

  • For every 38,000 bills consumers pay online instead of by mail, 5,058 pounds of greenhouse gases are avoided and two tons of trees are preserved.

  • Refrigerators built in 1975 used 4 times more energy than current models.

  • Glass can be recycled over and over again without ever wearing down.

  • In California homes, about 10% of energy usage is related to TVs, DVRs, cable and satellite boxes, and DVD players.

  • An aluminum can that is thrown away instead of recycled will still be a can 500 years from now!

  • The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million people die prematurely worldwide every year due to air pollution.

  • American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.

  • Every week about 20 species of plants and animals become extinct.

  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every 3 months