The textile industry is one of the biggest in the world, and globally, enormous quantities of clothes, from shoes and pants to dresses and shoes are manufactured. Each year, however, not all clothes end up where they need to go. Many clothes are simply discarded and end up in landfills, and in the United States, old garments sometimes go to waste. The average American discards clothes every year, but instead of going to landfills, they could be use for helping families in need. Increased awareness of and interest in charity can help many military families, veterans charities, and organizations that accept clothing donations. How can clothes better go toward those who need them? How can helping families in need move to the next level?
Production and Waste
Generally, Americans donate or recycle about 15% of used clothing, while the rest, amounting to some 10.5 million tons annually, goes right into landfills, and this means that the textiles industry has one of the worst recycling rates of any reusable material. That can average out to close to 82 pounds of textile waste per American every year. And even among clothes that are recycled, not all of those donations are helping families in need; unfortunately, about 30% of those recycled clothes are cut up to make industrial rags, and 20% or so is shredded to make couch stuffing and insulation for homes.
This is out of a production rate of 25 billion pounds of new clothes and other textiles that the United States creates every single year, according to the Council for Textile Recycling, where 85% ends up in landfills sooner or later. It is clear, then, that plenty of clothes are made for everyone, regular consumers and families in need alike. How can the ratios of clothes be improved so that helping families in need becomes the rule of old clothes instead of the exception?
Charitable Clothing Donations
The good news is that donating used clothes for helping families in need already has a solid presence in the United States, providing something that can be expanded upon. In fact, some 95.4% of Americans take part in some type of charitable giving every single year, and some of that is bound to include old clothes. And in the year 2007, just to name one, nearly $5.8 billion worth of donations of clothes were given to charity foundations throughout the United States.
How to donate to charity? It is simpler and easier than some may think. An adult American is bound to have many clothes in their wardrobe, and some of those articles of clothes are probably not even wanted anymore. To start helping families in need, an adult American (and even teenagers) can start by gathering all owned clothes from across the home and putting them in one big pile on the floor to create a comprehensive inventory. From here, the owner can pick through clothes one by one and determine which make the owner happy and comfortable, and which feels worn out, out of fashion, redundant, or otherwise unwanted. The desired clothes return to the closet and dressers, and the unwanted clothes end up in bags or boxes for transportation. This even has the added benefit streamlining the person’s wardrobe and making it more convenient.
The person can then search for “Where can I donate clothes?” into any search engine, and nearby charity pickup areas should appear, complete with addresses, photos, and driving directions. The person can then take all clothing donations to the pickup site and follow any special directions there, and the clothes are then deposited. Helping families in need is as simple as weeding out unwanted clothes and shoes and depositing them to such a place, and veteran families and families in need will get the charitable relief that they need.