It may not be surprising to hear that the textiles industry is one of the largest in the United States and even the entire world. This industry produces the world’s clothing, bedding, and table linens, and these items are always in demand. Everyone needs clothes to wear, after all, ranging from casual shirts and pants to formal wear to work and military uniforms. The United States in particular is a large market and consumer alike for clothes, and the American apparel market has a value over $300 million today. That market is still growing in size and value, and the average American consumer today purchases twice as many clothes as they did just 20 years ago. The typical American woman has one outfit for every day of the month, compared to just nine back in 1930.
All of this clothing production and consumption means that many Americans now own a lot of clothes, often more clothes than they even intend to wear. These old clothes are often thrown away, but many would argue that clothing donations to military charities or veterans donations is a much better idea, and donation guidelines are simple enough to follow. These donation guidelines may request that donated clothes are not damaged beyond use or an obvious health hazard, but otherwise, donation guidelines may allow nearly any usable clothes to be donated. An unsure person may visit one of many donations sites in their area and ask about the donation guidelines before they submit donations.
Recycling and Waste
The bad news is that the textile industry has one of the lowest reclamation rates out of all industries that make use of recyclable materials, comparing poorly to glass, plastic, paper, and steel. In the 2010s, textiles have a reclamation rate around 15%, meaning that 85% of old clothes often end up discarded and going straight to landfills. Millions of tons of old clothes are lost this way every year, and that fuels landfill growth. This figures out to the average American discarding 70 pounds of textiles each year, including bedding, table linens, and clothing. Some old clothes are shredded to form industrial rags and furniture stuffing, but it could be said that donating those old clothes to organizations that pick up donations is a much better idea.
The good news is that Americans have proven to have a charitable spirit, and every year without fail, Americans donate their old clothing, house wares, canned food, and even money for the needy. While many clothes are discarded, many others indeed end up in the hands of the needy, and some old clothes are in fact shipped around the world to needy communities. Improving clothing donations rates may be a simple matter of stoking this existing charitable spirit to new heights, and lessening how much clothing ends up in landfills.
Make A Donation
Many American households are likely to have more clothes in them than the family members wear or even like, so these excess clothes may be a fine choice for donations. And no matter how large a household’s total wardrobe is, a simple and effective process may be used to sort out what to give away. To start, everyone in the household may gather all clothing and personal accessories from across the house and assemble it all into a single, large pile to form a comprehensive inventory. This makes it easy to determine what is owned and in what quantity. Some people may be surprised by the size of the pile, since clothing tends to get scattered over the home over time.
Now, everyone can sort through all this and choose what should be donated. Clothes to be given away may be out of fashion, worn out, redundant with other clothes, simply the wrong size. These charity-bound clothes may be packed into bags or boxes for easy transport, and once this process is done, those old clothes and accessories are ready to go. A person may seal those bags or boxes and drive them to a local donations site, and they can look up the name and address of such a site online if they need to. Once there, the donor can simply hand over everything, and follow any donation guidelines or suggestions there to finish the donation.