What marks the end of a piece of clothing’s life?
Is it when your last kid outgrows the hand-me downs?
Or is it when the holes in the knees get a little too big?
It could be for a thousand different reasons — many of them good, and some of them not so good.
But this question of throwing out clothes is actually a bit more tricky than you might think! While it’s easy to imagine that your clothes are natural, biodegradable, and easily return to the Earth, that may not really be the case. The EPA estimates that about 5% of the world’s landfills are textiles, which comes to about 4 billion tons per year. That’s a lot of waste.
To make matters worse, most textiles take between 20 to 200 years to completely biodegrade! That means we’re throwing away clothes and fabrics too fast, and it’s worth your time and energy to be a bit more careful about how you get rid of those old clothes.
And here’s the kicker:
An estimated 95% of clothes can be recycled!
So all things considered, you need to be careful about how you throw out your old clothes. You can’t just put them in the garbage with everything else — at least you shouldn’t!
Instead, you can do a number of things, all of which help extend the life of your clothes and put them to good, sustainable use:
- Donate them at a donation center
- Repurpose them in your home
- Give directly to someone you know who needs it
- Resell pieces that are still in good condition, but maybe too small or that don’t fit well
- Contact your local recycling center to see how to correctly drop off textiles
All of these are responsible, sensible, and help you give back to your community and the environment. Hopefully this blog will help you stop the next time you’re about to bin some old clothes, and you’ll find a new way to give them some extra life.