According to a study released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, every second, about 9 tons of clothing is sent to garbage dumps and destroyed forever. Keep in mind that most of this clothing is still in wearable condition, and could have easily kept someone covered for a couple more years.
Over the years, people have started buying more clothes, but wear them less often before disposing of them, even if they’re in perfect condition.
Often, people would rather throw their clothing away instead of donating it. The reason behind this is simple: the myths and misconceptions people have made themselves believe about used clothes.
While there may be more than half a million homeless people in America who could benefit from used clothing, the supply far outweighs the demand here. If the 3.8 billion pounds of clothing that are recycled every year is divided among these people, each of them would get a whopping 6000 clothes per person!
Instead, these could be better utilized transported to developing countries or those below the line of poverty that desperately need the extra clothing. By donating or selling your used clothing to companies that ship worldwide like us, not only are you helping make a difference in someone’s life, you’re also preventing the 70 pounds the average US citizen throws away every year from ending up in landfills.
On average, the US generates about 25 billion pounds of textiles every year, only 15% of which gets donated or recycled. This means that the remaining 85% is thrown away to landfills.
Most Americans believe enough clothing is being recycled every year that it’s all good if they don’t donate. On the other hand, many others believe that no one would prefer to wear their used clothing, when in reality, secondhand markets all over the world help those of lower socioeconomic situations get access to quality clothing cheaply.
While many charities do give away the used clothing you donate to people who need them without charge, many others instead sell the clothing cheaply to generate funds for the charity. About 10-20% of the clothing donated in the US is actually bought by thrift stores! On the other hand, the remaining 1.6 million tons of a total of 2 million tons is sold to secondhand markets in developing countries, or sold domestically on the secondhand clothing market.
The second hand clothing market actually provides a number of jobs and opportunities for people in developing countries, helping raise their economy. Not only does it benefit people in the other country, it also generates jobs for traders, middlemen, logistics companies, and more in the US who are in charge of shipping the secondhand clothing overseas.
Donating as opposed to selling is much like putting duct tape on a leaking boat. While the duct tape may temporarily keep the boat from sinking, it would not do much to fix the crack itself. Similarly, creating jobs for people who are struggling is much better than just donating clothing for them.
Whitehouse & Shapiro recycles donated used clothes and keeps America textile waste free by exporting them to foreign markets. Whether you’re looking to donate used clothes or shoes or would like to recycle your old, worn down outfits, we’ll take care of it all for you. Join our cause and do your part in saving the environment. Get in touch for more information.