Clothes donations

Every year, nearly all Americans engage in some type of charitable giving. In 2007, for example, approximately $5.8 billion in clothing-related donations were given to charitable foundations. During 2011, roughly two million tons of clothing and household textiles were either recycled or donated to charity. Even though this is a considerable amount of material, the recovery rate during that year was estimated at just 15.3%.

While it may be surprising to learn, textiles actually have one of the lowest recycling rates of materials that can be used again. Even though people in the United States do recycle or donate 15% of their used clothing, around 10.5 million tons ends up in landfills every year.

Given the amount of used clothing donations that are made every year, only some of these items are worn again. Recent information indicates that about two million tons of clothing is recycled in this country, and less than half of it is purchased at charitable stores and worn again. It’s interesting to note that the average American will purchase about ten pounds of used clothing every year, however. The remainder is used for these purposes:

  • Cut up for industrial rags: 30%
  • Shredded for couch stuffing and to insulate homes: 20%

On an annual basis, the Council for Textile Recycling reported that the United States creates approximately 25 billion pounds of new textiles. While charitable organizations receive 15% of these materials, the remainder, which is roughly 85%, will end up in the country’s landfills. Since clothing donations are used by charitable organizations to assist those in need and for operational funding, it’s important to support these causes accordingly. Recent figures indicate that approximately 80% of the clothing donations made in the United States are utilized for these express purposes. In this way, these organizations will be able to continue providing support for military families and other worthwhile causes, such as protecting the environment.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart is one of the charities that will pick up used clothing donations. When charities pick up donations of clothing and household textiles, it makes it that much easier to recycle and up-cycle these items. As a result, the country’s landfills will not be overflowing with materials which can be reused for other purposes or recycled.