This week’s post is from Tara LaSalla of Going Green Tampa. See below the article for her website info!
Like many Americans, we love to shop and consume. Whether it is the latest high tech gadget or the newest fashion trends, all items have a certain shelf life in our minds. But shopping and consuming have consequences when we tire of the old and are ready for something new. Many times, people don’t give it a second thought to throw out worn or old clothes, shoes, purses, belts and even teddy bears. It’s easy to throw anything away and send it off to the landfill.
According to the U.S. EPA, textile waste accounts for over 13.1 million tons of the solid waste stream or about 4 billion pounds sent to the landfill each year. Think about what 4 billion pounds of clothing or material would look like in a pile. And what is even more staggering is that less than 15% of those 4 billion pounds gets recycled- a sad statistic. Our landfills are filling up quickly with many types of waste, but this is one type of waste that should be almost entirely diverted from the landfill to be reused or recycled.
On an international scale, China is estimated to soon be producing about 50% of the world’s clothing. About 15% of the fabric used for making clothing ends up on the cutting floor. A mind-blowing 253 tons of textile waste is sent to landfills each day in Hong Kong. This should give anyone pause to understand why we need to divert as much away from the landfills as possible. The planet can only take so much abuse for so long.
We all have an opportunity to stop being so wasteful and think before we throw. If you have clothing that was rarely worn and is perhaps designer, consider earning some money and taking it to a local consignment shop. There is a high demand for designer clothing at a lower cost for the teens to twenties demographic.
If a consignment shop isn’t your gig, give your clothes to any friend or relative that may enjoy them and get more use out of them.
And lastly, if your old wares need a new home, donate them to a Salvation Army, Goodwill or another local shop that collects used goods. Many companies have made it even easier for people to donate their stuff by placing large clothing and shoe collection bins in parking lots.
There has been a myth that you can only donate “gently used” clothing, shoes, etc. The fact is you can really donate your old clothing or textiles in any shape as long as it isn’t oil soaked. It gets sorted and what can’t be used for resale is then recycled into other materials such as industrial polishing rags, stuffing for furniture and car seats, fiberboard, insulation and even new textiles.
Remember, whatever it is that you decide, give your goods a second life. It goes to other people that need them, keeps them out of landfills and helps preserve our natural resources.
Here is a short list of textile items that are accepted at most consignment or local donation stores. Make sure to contact your local store for their complete listings.
- Stuffed animals
- Household linens (Can also be donated to most local animal shelters)
Learn more about author Tara LaSalla on Google + or visit us at www.GoingGreenTampa.com to see how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle. Be well!