When you make clothing donations to veterans charities such as The Military Order of the Purple Heart, it makes a significant impact on the lives of military families as well as the environment. The 12 million tons of clothing and household textiles that are being thrown away every year could be reused and/or repurposed.
Every year, research shows that the average person in the United States creates 82 pounds of textile waste. Americans only donate or recycle 15% of their used clothing, and the remainder goes into landfills. When considering the fact that most of these textiles could be worn again, reused, or repurposed, it appears that textiles have the lowest recycling rate.
Many Americans do make an effort to recycle. While approximately 2 million tons of used clothing is recycled every year, less than half is apparently worn again. The remainder of these recycled textiles are used as follows:
- Cut up for industrial rags: 30%
- Shredded for couch stuffing and home insulation: 20%
Americans could increase their recycling efforts in other areas as well. Every day, the average person will generate 4.5 pounds of trash. Over the course of a year, this is roughly 1.5 tons of solid waste. While the Environmental Protection Agency indicates that an estimated 75% of this waste may be recyclable, just 30% is, in fact, recycled.
It’s important to note the recycling efforts that were made in 2012. Data indicates that 67 million tons of material was either composted and/or recycled. While this does make a positive environmental impact, it is not nearly enough. If, for example, every person in the United States were to recycle 1/10 of their newspapers, 25 million trees could be saved on an annual basis.
Food waste is another area where more efforts could be made. Since Americans generate 21.5 million tons of food waste every year, this could be composted. The environmental impact of this composting would be the equivalent of taking 2 million cars off of the road, which means that greenhouse gases could be reduced.
When you consider the positive impact of recycling, it’s important to make a concerted effort to do so. Whether you make clothing donations to charitable organizations such as The Military Order of the Purpose Heart, or read the newspaper online rather than have it delivered, you are making a significant contribution to your community. Furthermore, you are helping military families and the programs that provide assistance for them.