July 07, 2017
No longer wearing that fleece? Amid the various things we can do to reduce the environmental damage of the garment industry is to Get it to someone who needs it via St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army. The one thing that we should NEVER do: dispose of clothing and shoes in the garbage. Currently, only about 15% of clothing in the U.S. is donated or recycled. In the US alone, 12.8 million tons of clothing is sent to landfills each year (about 87 lbs of clothing per person every year). Clothing in landfills results in a myriad of harms. For instance, nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose. This must change, and here are some organizations that can help:
Blue Jeans Go Green, a program of Cotton Incorporated, upcycles denim donations into insulation, which it then gives away — but does not sell — to various entities, including many Habitat for Humanity chapters.
Brides dream of having the perfect dress and a beautiful gown is an essential part of every bride’s special day. From donations of gowns, Brides Across America gives a military or first responder bride a free wedding gown.
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Gently used business attire can help disadvantaged women to succeed at work through Dress for Success. Find an affiliate location near you, and drop off your unneeded office wear.
Worn out athletic shoes can be given a new life as part of tracks, playgrounds, outdoor courts, or other places to play through the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program. They have locations around the country to gather the shoes.
This nonprofit program will distribute your gently worn shoes to people in need all over the world. Find local drop off locations on Soles 4 Souls, and you can also organize a shoe drive to increase your impact.
Use your fashion for good with Union & Fifth. Simply select which charity you would like to benefit, download a free shipping label, and clean out your closet. Union & Fifth will sell your clothes and send 75% of the sale price to your chosen charity.
Remember: ditch the dumpster and donate your goods to a worthy cause!