How to Recycle Old Sweat Pants

Written by melissa busse
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How to Recycle Old Sweat Pants
Recycle your old sweat pants into a hot/cold rice pack, useful for soothing sore muscles. (young business woman on white call phone image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

Many people are aware of the importance of recycling for the health of our planet. Although you may already recycle your used cans and newspapers, did you know that your clothing can be recycled too? If you find an old pair of sweat pants, for example, and are considering throwing them in the trash, you may want to think again. The insulating power of sweat pants makes them the perfect recyclable fabric. Try recycling your old trousers by turning them into a hot/cold rice pack useful for easing muscle pain and tenderness.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring tape
  • 6 cups rice
  • Thread
  • Chalk

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  1. 1

    Cut the sweat pants along the seams found on the insides of the pant legs, starting at the bottom of one of the legs and working your way up and over to the other side. Then, cut down the seam found in the centre of the front of the trousers, starting at the top and cutting toward the bottom. Turn the trousers over and make the same cut in the seam found in the centre of the back of the trousers. The sweat pants should now be in two separate pieces.

  2. 2

    Measure a section of the sweat pants, 3 feet by 10 inches, and mark with the chalk. Cut this section out of the sweat pants.

  3. 3

    Fold this strip of fabric right sides together. Sew along the bottom and side of the folded fabric, forming a bag. Turn the bag inside out, so that the raw, sewn edges are now on the inside.

  4. 4

    Measuring bottom to top from the sewn bottom edge, mark a 6-inch section of fabric with your chalk. Continue measuring and marking sections until you reach the top edge of the bag.

  5. 5

    Pour one cup of rice into the bag. Sew a seam along the first 6-inch section, sealing the rice into the section. Pour another cup of rice into the next section, and sew a seam to seal in the second section of rice. Continue pouring rice into the rest of the remaining sections and sewing them in place, until all of the rice sections are sealed in.

  6. 6

    Fold in the edges of the fabric of the last rice section, and pinch them together. Sew a seam across the pinched, folded fabric, finishing the rice pack.

Tips and warnings

  • Store the rice bag in the freezer for use as a cold pack. To use the rice bag as a warm pack, place it in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes before use.
  • Make sure to not use instant rice in your rice pack, since instant rice may burn when warming in the microwave.

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