On average, Americans throw out 80 pounds of clothing every year!
American society is the embodiment of consumerism. Purchasing things in excess comes second nature to us—especially when it comes to clothes. Reports show that Americans only wear 20% of what’s in our closets, so it’s no wonder that we throw out so many clothing items year after year.
However, there’s a cost that comes with dumping so many clothes. The fast-fashion clothing industry is the second biggest polluter on the planet, second to only the oil industry.
By purchasing clothes we don’t need, we increase the demand for fast-fashion items and put the environment in danger.
There are many downsides to dumping clothing items. So if you do want to get rid of clothes, you should recycle them.
1. It Reduces Harmful Greenhouse Gases
That’s right, your clothes are one of the leading causes of greenhouse gases around the world; in fact, the clothing industry releases more carbon emissions that the international airlines and shipping industries combined!
Greenhouse gases are released during several steps in the manufacturing process, but the primary source of carbon emissions for the fashion industry comes from the shipping of merchandise around the world.
Greenhouses gases are also released in landfills in which used clothes are dumped. Because of the lack of oxygen, these items decompose anaerobically and release toxic gases into the atmosphere.
By recycling our clothes, we can decrease greenhouse gases significantly; recycling 100 million pounds of old clothing can reduce 26,000-35,000 cars worth of toxic gases!
Imagine how much safer the world would be if all us recycled our clothes!
2. It Saves Energy
The global consumer market purchases 80 billion fast-fashion items every year—the fast-fashion industry produces billions more. The production and distribution of these billions of clothing items requires a lot of energy.
By recycling unwanted clothes by donating them to thrift stores and charities, you help bring down the demand for new clothing and help preserve energy.
3. It’ll Save Landfill Space
The fact that landfills exist at all is bad for the environment, the annual dumping of tons of clothes just makes it worse. Americans dump around 15 million tons of clothing into landfills year after year.
Operating landfills costs millions of dollars, and because the space requirements keep growing, the municipality is forced to grow its budget.
By recycling clothes, you can extend the lifecycle of clothes and prevent them from being dumped in landfills.
Whitehouse & Schapiro is a second-hand clothing trader that prevents 2.5 million tons of clothes from clogging landfills annually. They collect used-clothes and shoes from Baltimore and sell them to foreign markets. Contact them for more information.
Note: Whitehouse & Schapiro collects excess inventory from thrift locations and credential clothing via Clean Out Your Closets for a Cause™ (COYC™). COYC™ is a successful credential collection program that enables non-profit organizations to engage churches, businesses, schools, municipalities, donors, and volunteers in their fundraising efforts.