Thrift stores are a great way to recycle gently used goods and ensure that your items find their way into a home that can use them. Research shows that up to 70% of Americans give donations for non profit organizations. Charities that pick up clothing donations alone are responsible for $5.8 billion worth of clothing in 2007; that number amounts to 2 million tons of clothing. Charitable donations are not just a good gesture, as the industry helps to produce roughly 17,000 jobs throughout America. Here are several points to consider when going through your closets.
Shirts in Landfills
Statistics have estimated that a typical American household will throw away around 68 pounds of clothing every year, 99% of which could have been recycled or reused. That number represented in pounds is 12 million tons of clothing that is wasted per year. Fabrics such as polyester, nylon, rayon, and cotton constitute up to 5% of all trash found in landfills. Americans have an image for being wasteful; while other countries are starving we generate 21.5 million tons of food waster per year–if that was composted into food it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gases as removing 2 million cars from the roads would. If Americans just recycled 1/10th of their newspapers, then 25 million trees would be saved each year. By not contributing to landfill waste, you are not only decreasing your carbon footprint, but you may have the opportunity to genuinely give back to those in need or on a budget.
Gently Used, New to You
Charities that pick up clothing donations provide a myriad of services for the local community: charities use an average of up to 80% of donated clothing for the needy or to keep themselves in business through resale. The average American purchases up to 10 pounds of clothing from thrift stores every year. Americans have already showed an increased concern in recycling as a way of going green ; in 2012 alone Americans recycled nearly 87 million tons of material. A 2006 study has found that 2.5 billion pounds of textiles were spared from the landfills by using charities that pick up clothing donations. Chances are that you have several articles of clothing in your closet that you haven’t worn in years. Give your clothes a new lease on life, while at the same time helping out the community with your donation?