You might not realise what happens to clothing when it leaves your closet. If you find you are no longer in need of clothing items and you think you might give them away to a place that accepts charitable clothing donations, you would be doing much more good than you think.
The average American will purchase roughly 10 pounds of previously used clothing every year. This accounts for several nice outfits at extremely low prices, but it’s much more than that. The textile recycling industry means an estimated 17,000 jobs throughout the Untied States. Simply by making charitable clothing donations, you are helping the American economy. It might just seem like you are simply cleaning out your closet, but it is much, much more.
If you consider the year 2011 alone, 2 million tons of clothing and textiles were recycled or donated to charity in the United States. That sound like a lot, and it is. But, the recovery rate for used clothing and recyclable textiles was only 15.3% that year. That means the number of clothing and textile pieces that were thrown out when they could have been recovered was estimated to be close to 90% in the US.
As much as we might like to turn a blind eye to it, there is a significant poverty problem in the United States. People who have been laid off from their jobs who were only one lost paycheck away from being destitute quite suddenly find themselves in need. When you donate clothing to organizations that accept charitable clothing donations you contribute directly to helping those in need. It’s estimated that 80% of donated clothing is used by charitable organizations for the poor as well as for funding.
There is much more to recycling than simply cans and glass bottles. According to the EPA, 75 percent of our solid waste is recyclable, but we only actually recycle about 30% of it. Repurposing and finding multiple uses for textiles and other forms of recyclable materials might seem like it’s too much work, but the facts contradict that notion. We can do more to make this planet more inhabitable just by being more responsible with things we have used and no longer need, but it’s used clothing that hangs in our closets no longer having any use that can do so much more good than we imagine.
Cities with the highest poverty levels like Philadelphia rely very significantly on the donation of clothing. Approximately 440,000 people fall below the poverty level in the City of Brotherly Love, as ironic as that might sound. Of the top 10 largest cities in the United States, Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate. Charities that will pick up donations are only a phone call away.
If you’ve been through your closet lately and see things you haven’t seen in a long time, like that outfit in the way back, consider a charitable donation. It’s easy to do and it makes a bigger difference than you think.