From that thrift shop down the road…

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What, what, what, what, what, what, what… Ok, evidence shows we are not Macklemore. Andrew is at it again with blog posts and brings you things you probably didn’t know about recycling and the clothing industry. Read on! 

Every day, millions of new articles of clothing are manufactured and shipped all around the world to be sold to an ever growing consumer market. This causes a rather large carbon footprint for an item that, for most people, will only be worn a year or two before it is stuffed into a box in the attic or discarded to a landfill.

The average person disposes of about 68 pounds of clothing per year. Approximately 85% of these old clothing items end up in landfills where they occupy about 4 percent of the total space. That is a huge amount of space for an item with a rather short existence. These discarded clothes have potential for a greater use than rotting in a dump. Sure, that 80’s jean jack with a million zippers may not be in style anymore, but to simply disregard it to a landfill is just wasteful. In the very least, you are denying someone the opportunity to dawn that once phenomenal piece of attire.  

Now, I know with plastics there is sometimes that awkward moment of confusion. You’re standing in front of both the trash can and recycling can, examining the bottle for a frantic 10 seconds.  Your eyes are looking urgently for those three infamous arrows that symbolize this item may be recycled. Recyclable? Not? Never fear, with clothes, 98% of ALL clothing items can be recycled AND reused. These reused, or second hand clothing items, when given to thrift shops, can be sold to a fellow human for a fraction of the normal cost. Up to 20% of all recycled clothing is given away to thrift shops. The person buying these clothes can save a substantial amount of money. This helps customers who may not have the income to afford clothing at a department store still look fantastic in some new, second hand threads. Or it can help to create a number 1 hit song for a previously undiscovered hip hop artist.

Recycled clothing can be transformed into such items as wiping rags, insulation, upholstery stuffing, and ingredients in paper products or used clothing exports. Even our own government uses a percentage of recycled textiles to make the US dollar. On top of that, the recycling industry for clothing consists of about 2,000 companies- most of which are family owned. This creates over 17,000 jobs and helps to put money made from recycled clothing back into the pockets of many of the very workers who helped recycle it. If that isn’t considered full circle, I don’t know what is.   

And there you have it, another bestie blog post from one of our summer besties (AKA summer intern).