Cleaning out your closet can be more than a routine spring cleaning, decluttering act. It can also be a positive act for your community and for the environment! How, you may ask? Many charities accept used clothing donations that they either donate to those in need or resell at a lower cost to lower-income families; this money helps fund their programs and good works. By recycling clothes instead of simply tossing them in the garbage, you’re helping the environment by preventing extra pounds of clothes from going to the landfill. It’s an easy way to practice philanthropy and get your kids involved as well. There are a number of ways to donate clothes as well — from a clothing drop off location or bin, to clothing pick-ups, to donating at your local thrift store.
How Does Donating Clothes Help My Community?
Clothing drop off sites, thrift stores, and even some recycling centers collect donations that include used clothes, electronics, and household goods, and give those items new life. The donations help fund programs that aid veterans, the blind, and the environment. These nonprofits work with fantastic organizations like the Military Order of the Purple Heart for over 50 years and raise millions of dollars every year for them. Some also work closely with the National Federation of the Blind, which helps those blind and going blind with the tools they need to be successful and independent.
A typical second-hand donation location will keep about 100 tons of clothes, electronics, and household goods from going in the landfill every week! With the average American buying at last twice as many items of clothing as compared to 20 years ago, you can just imagine the waste. And luckily for you, there are thousands of free-standing clothing drop off bins and trailers to collect your donations all over the country.
What’s the Real Impact Behind Recycling My Clothes?
In 2006, there were almost three billion pounds of fabric that were saved from the landfills, thanks to people buying used clothing. Given that every year, around 10.5 million tons of clothing end up in the landfill every year, that’s progress. And sadly, almost 100% of textiles and clothing could be recycled in some fashion — so it’s time to start doing right by our environment!
Besides, there’s so much need that it’s almost shameful to throw away clothes that could still be worn. Almost half of clothing that is donated or otherwise recycled gets worn again as secondhand clothing. Americans donate almost five billion pounds of clothing, which is about 15% of their used clothing. We can do better! Give someone a new outfit to wear to an interview that they need or give a child a warm winter coat that your child has outgrown, instead of simply throwing those items away.
Plus, you help foster an environment of philanthropy and thrift, especially among your family. If your children see you constantly giving back, they’ll be encouraged to do the same.
How Can I Get Involved?
The answer is easy! Donate! Look for clothing drop off locations in your area. If you have a specific charity you’re looking to donate to, ask them about clothing drop off locations or if they come by and pick up donations. Look for our clothing drop off locations and find out what kind of items are always in demand and useful. For example, winter coats and other winter wear will be in high demand starting as the weather gets colder in the fall.
You can also donate your time and money — funds are always needed to keep these organizations going and volunteerism is another great way to give back to your community.
So next time you go to clean out your closet, think about your nearest clothing drop off and what kind of need there is in your community. Give back instead of giving it up to the landfill!