Many of us are trying to be a little more ?green? all the time. We want to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible. We know that, as a society, we simply need to cut back on the amount of waste we produce. Currently, American people generate an average of 4.5 pounds of trash every day; a total of about 1.5 tons of solid waste annually. And of that, 12 million tons was clothing and textile waste. How much of that could have been reused or repurposed, rather than added to a landfill? How many tons of clothing could have instead been used as donations for nonprofit organizations?
This is not a new idea; thrift stores and resale shops have been around for decades. But a far smaller portion of discarded clothing is finding its way to a new wearer; only about 2 million tons of clothing and textiles were recycled or donated to charity in the United States, according to a 2011 study. That leaves 10 million tons of room for improvement. The fact is that Americans recycle or donate only 15 percent of their used clothing, and the rest goes into landfills, making textiles one of the least recycled of all reusable materials.
Think about what you do with clothing when you?re finished wearing it. Do you shove it to the back of your closet or dresser drawer and forget about it? Do you throw it out? Perhaps you pass it on to a friend or family member, which is a great way to give old clothes a new life. Maybe you try a consignment shop, but that can be frustrating if the items don?t sell. However, consider helping families in need. The only thing you?d need to do is pile up the clothes and call one of the wonderful charities that pick up clothing donations. In this way, you?re not only helping to reduce the amount of solid waste we produce, but you?re also helping others.
So how does your clothing donation help the environment? There are two main ways. First, if people buy less new clothing, fewer clothes need to be made. Therefore, fewer resources are used in making clothing and textiles. While certain fabrics are naturally grown, there are many synthetic fabrics that use energy, produce toxins, and have a negative environmental impact. Second, donating clothing keeps it out of the landfill. Whether it gets worn by another person or made into scraps for a quilt, or some other artistic or practical repurposing, it is being used, not thrown away.
Don?t let unused clothing take up space in your home. Call charities that pick up clothing donations and let them put the items to new use. Once your clothing donation has been picked up, you?ll notice another benefit of donation pickup: a less cluttered home! We all know that clutter and disorganization can lead to negative feelings, so getting rid of unused items will not only make you feel good about donating to charity and helping the environment, but you?ll feel better about your personal space.
What are you waiting for? Go clean out your closet. The charities that pick up clothing donations are usually willing to come on your schedule, and there are probably several drop off locations in your area as well. Donating clothing has many benefits for you, your community, and your environment, and charities that pick up clothing donations are there to help you do it.