It may not come as a surprise to hear that the textiles industry is one of the largest in the entire world. After all, everyone needs clothing to wear, may it be formal wear, everyday wear, work or military uniforms, and even baby clothes and table linens. The United States in particular is one of the largest markets and producers for clothing and textiles today, and the average American consumer buys twice as many clothes as they did just 20 years ago. What is more, textiles is one of several industries known for their reclaimable materials, along with steel, plastic, cardboard, and others. Old clothes can be donated for helping families in need, and helping families in need or helping military families is common during the winter holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah (such holidays have a charitable element to them). Any household can donate clothing for helping families in need, and veterans charities are also common for this. When is it time for helping families in need, or finding military charities to donate to?
Rates of Donations and Waste
Clothing can and often is recycled or reclaimed for donations for the needy, but the bad news is that textiles has one of the lowest reclamation rates of all industries (steel has the highest). Around 85% of all used and unwanted clothing in the United States is simply thrown away, discarded and sent to the nearest landfill. Such clothes don’t do anyone any good there, and there may be a lot of them. Millions of tons of old clothes are lost this way, and with Americans buying so many clothes, that may be a lot indeed. Today, the average American discards 70 pounds of textiles ranging from clothes to bedding to table linens. Some clothes are recycled and shredded to make industrial rags and furniture stuffing, with is arguably much better than simply discarding all those old clothes. But many will say that donating such clothes for helping families in need is the best possible use for old clothes, and it is a major humanitarian act to do so. And of course, it helps slow down landfill growth.
There is good news in all this. For all that clothing thrown away, a lot is indeed given to local charity efforts, amounting to many millions of garments per year. This even spans the world, as a lot of used American clothes are shipped to needy communities around the world. Many Americans take part in charitable giving to some degree, from clothing to percentages of their income to household goods such as cookware or kids’ toys. Boosting clothing donations rates may simply be a matter of stoking this existing charitable spirit to new heights.
How to Donate
Even if a household has a lot of clothing in it, there is a simple and effective process that any family or household may use to figure out what to donate. To begin with, everyone in the household can gather all clothes and personal accessories from across the home and assemble it all into a single, large pile. Clothing tends to get scattered at times, so assembling it all makes for a convenient inventory of what everyone owns. The sheer size of this pile may be surprising. Shirts and pants, dresses, coats, shoes, gloves, and more will end up in this pile.
With everything assembled like this, it is easy for everyone to pick and sort through the pile and decide what to keep and what will be donated. Clothes to be donated may be worn out, redundant with other items, out of style, or unwanted for any other reason. These clothes can be put into boxes or bags for transport later. This process may be continued until all clothes have been looked over, and everything to be kept will be put back in the dressers and closets. Now, the boxes or bags can be sealed, and a person can look up local charity pick up sites and get their address, then take these packaged clothes to the site. There, they can simply hand it all over to the volunteers there. Donors may even get a tax rebate form based on the total value of everything being donated like this.