Most superheroes have a look. A costume is an essential part of the superhero ensemble. Often heroes will choose a symbol and look and stick with it. Other times heroes will change their costumes whenever it suits them. The costume serves the purpose of letting the villains and public know they are on the scene to save the day.
When people get a new jacket or pair of shoes, they do their best to keep them nice and clean for as long as possible. Superheroes don't have this luxury. When duty calls and they're dressed for action, they have to dive in head first. Some heroes might have a force field or some way to keep their outfits in pristine condition but what usually happens is the costume is ripped or damaged.
Because it's not proper for a hero to go out and fight crime in a shredded costume, they often have to get a new one to replace a damaged outfit. With all the ripped and damaged costumes, the question remains, what do superheroes do with the remains of their old costumes?== TEASER ==
Normally people might simply throw away a ripped t-shirt or worn pair of shoes. This isn't really an option for superheroes, especially if they have a secret identity. These days, you never know who might go rooting through your trash and the last thing a hero needs is someone finding their old ripped costume.
This would be a quick way for someone to discover where the superhero lived. If an evil super-genius didn't try to use the knowledge, chances are a tabloid would be willing to pay top dollar for any discarded superhero wardrobe.
Another option might be to incinerate the tattered remains. Depending on the material, this could result in toxic emissions. I've never tried to burn spandex so I can't say with certainty what the results would be. What about unstable molecules? What's the proper way to dispose of a suit made of those?
Some heroes' costumes, while not indestructible, might have some elements of being fire-resistant. There would also be the matter of where would they burn it? Not everyone has an incinerator in their building or home. Trying to burn it in their grill in the backyard probably wouldn't be a good idea either.
Some people try to patch up their ripped clothing. This would certainly save on some cost and the hassle of trying to find the right way to get rid of a ripped costume. The problem is, not everyone is a master tailor like Peter Parker is.
Depending on who is in on the hero's secret, they can't ask just anyone to repair it. With the way some costumes are constantly getting torn, they'd soon look like a patchwork quilt. If the villains begin laughing at the way costume a hero is wearing, they begin to lose some of their edge over them.
It would be a shame if heroes just threw their old costumes away. There are many homeless individuals that could use any bit of clothing they could get, especially in the colder times.
Usually around the holidays, organizations will hold clothing drives and accept donations to go to the needy. Would it be possible for those in need to wear portions of superheroes' costumes?
Provided they weren't damaged beyond repair, it could provide another layer of clothing, even if worn underneath other layers. There's also the fact that D-Man, an actual homeless superhero, looks like he wears a costume made up of discarded Daredevil and Wolverine costumes (he claims it was out of inspiration). It brings a new meaning to the word recycling.
Superheroes need to be responsible and conscious of the environment. They can't just throw away old costumes and have them fill up the landfills. They shouldn't burn them and add more air pollution, especially if the suits are made of strange material. With great power comes great responsibility and with great garbage...superheroes should be especially responsible.