If you looked in almost any closet, you’d find things that hadn’t been worn in years, sometimes decades. There are things we keep for sentimental value, but also the articles of clothing that have simply been forgotten. When we run out of space, or move, or start our spring cleaning ritual, all too often that clothing is discarded, not to be thought of again. As a matter of fact, only about 15% of used clothing is donated even though almost 100% can be re-purposed or recycled. Unfortunately, over 10 million tons of clothing is sent to landfills just in the U.S. alone. But our old clothes can be given new life in the form of used clothing donations.
Used clothing donations are useful in many ways. Of the nearly 5 billion pounds of used clothing donated by Americans a year, 45% is worn secondhand. The value of charitable donations is immeasurable, and charity foundations often accept used clothing donations. These donations go to people like children in need of clothing and towards helping families in need and helping military families. Many donated products are sent to developing nations, where almost 15 million tons of donated goods are available for purchase at a fraction of their pricing, helping the people who live there.
Used clothing donations to green charities is also an environmentally sound choice. In 2006, donations kept 2.5 billion pounds of used clothing out of landfills. The average American throws away about 70 pounds of clothing, household goods, and textiles in a year. If those good were donated, imagine how much MORE we could keep from landfills.
So when to donate clothes? As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn an article of clothing in two year, it should go. Americans buy double the amount of clothing they did 20 years ago, therefore, we have more to give away when we’re done with it.
What are the best charities to donate to? Well, there’s not just one. When you’re picking a place to donate to, keep in mind charities for wounded soldiers, charities for veterans, and charities for needy families. These charities cater to specific groups and help you to know where your used clothing donation is going. Look for places that are looking for donations – some will even pick up your clothes from your home!