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Cindy Rangel


Day 6 

Used clothing, where does it go? 


Here's the ultimate question. What should I do with all my old clothing? Let's take a step back and consider used textile statistics in the U.S.  

The average American throws 69 pounds of textiles per year or 2 large garbage bags.  According to the Wearables Collection, a subsidiary of Walkable Collections in New York,  NYC residents throw out 11 MILLION BAGS PER YEAR!  Where has this excessive number brought us to in society?  The only word I can muster up is excessiveness.   

Unfortunately, 25% of clothing or textile is being reused or recycled in some sort of fashion.  It's 12 million tons of textiles per year that Americans are throwing out.  Now that's just unnecessary. That begs the question, do Americans know where to take their clothing? 

The average American throws out 12 million textiles per year and less than 25% of that is being recycled or reused.
— Sierra Club

 Where can you take your clothing in stead of throwing it out?  

  1. Salvation Army
  2. The Purple Heart, a Veteran Entity collecting, clothing, shoes, bedding, and so much more.
  3. Local Churches that hold textile/shoe collections
  4. Schools often hold clothing donation drives (*becoming more common)
  5. Carpet America Recovery effort, an entity that exclusively recycles the carpets because it hard to break down those into fibers.
  6. Wearable Collections in NYC

You can take your clothing to a Salvation Army or a church but where does it go?

According to the Smart Secondary Material and Recycled Textiles, a non-for-profit trade association of companies that recycle these textiles:

  • 45 % of used apparel is sent abroad where the demand for used clothing use to be high (now the East African country leaders are banning used textile imports
  •  30% is used for wiping and polishing cloths
  • 20% are turned into fibers for upholstery, insulation, etc

So used clothing has a story.  Where is your clothing ending up? How can you close the loop in textile landfill story?  Does the ending of that story have to be the landfill?  Here is an option if you can't find a place to recycle your textiles/shoes, Council of Textile Recycling.  I ask you one thing after you read this.  Donate, reuse your textiles and share this story on twitter, facebook, or instagram as YOUR actionable step toward a more sustainable environment.  You can make the difference  and I am here to tell you it can begin with you.  

Thanks for allowing me to voice my passionate view on sustainable living.  I know that change is gradual but I know it begins with one actionable step.  I am happy it can begin with my writing and my steps.  To know more and to be more inspired I will be providing interview profiles on women making changes in their lives in my e~newsletter.