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Where the Unsold Thrift Clothes Are & Why You Should Not Think of Donation as an Excuse to Fill Your Closet With New

Posted by Bec Cristillo on
Where the Unsold Thrift Clothes Are & Why You Should Not Think of Donation as an Excuse to Fill Your Closet With New

The landfill.

We’re not looking to sugar coat it or allude for paragraphs that there’s some extraordinary and developed process for clothing waste, the reality is that two thirds of your thrift store end up in the landfill. 

We can’t talk about sustainability without addressing the clothing waste issue.

Even though it’s been known for years that the textile industry produces an absurd amount of waste, it has only recently been recognized as an issue of concern by consumers and now business owners. It’s been estimated that the average American produces 82 pounds of textile waste per year which totals to over 11 million tons per year by the United States alone.

Those textiles are made from acrylic, polyester, and nylon. All forms of plastic.

With that in mind what is the difference between a t-shirt and a water bottle when neither are going to decompose?

Slowly then all at once we saw Gen. Z turn towards thrifting as a trend to subsidize their own styles, this got credited as fashionable and sustainable which lead to booms in people taking their clothes and believing that donating them to thrift stores would close a loop in the textile industry.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Two thirds of those clothes donated end up in the landfill anyways and what’s worse is this moral haze is causing people to buy MORE because they think we’ve found the solution. There is simply too much clothing produced for the number of people in this world. No matter how many people thrift or how often, thrift stores are not selling out of clothing and as new donations come in there’s not enough space to keep everything. This means in with the new donations and to the landfills with the old. 

It’s time to face these facts, figure out what they mean to us personally as consumers, and then make a concerted effort to plan purchases accordingly.

There are other explored methods of reducing textile waste such as clothing recycling which does differ from clothing donation. This isn’t the most accessible option as you have to bring your clothing to specific recycling plants which have the ability to do it but there are stores like H&M who provide that service to you, you just drop your clothes off to them, no purchase needed.

The most sustainable thing you can do is buy nothing at all...

...but since we understand that extremity isn’t sustainable mindset, we urge you to buy better so you can end up overall buying less. The landfill is getting full and we’re looking to see how we can do better. 

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