Clothing consumption has skyrocketed in the past few decades, with North American consumers now buying 500 percent more than we did just 25 years ago. And while we’re buying more clothes than ever, the clothing is often so poorly made that it rarely lasts longer than one trend cycle.
So what happens to our clothing when we’re done wearing it?
Well, in North America, collectively 85 percent of our wardrobe will eventually end up in the landfill. That works out to more than 10 million tons of clothing. Statistics like this make it imperative that more of us become educated and aware of clothing recycling. Donating or recycling your clothing is a great way to lessen the environmental impact of your shopping habit, but it’s also really important to be doing it right.
Here are three clothing recycling mistakes that you may have been making without even knowing it.
Mistake #1: Skipping Social Media
We often don’t think of using social media to connect our unwanted items with those who could really use them, but it’s a great option, especially for clothing. When you donate clothing to a secondhand store, it gets sorted and priced for sale. On the racks in a thrift store, it may get purchased by someone, but it might also languish there for months, only to be disposed of eventually instead.
Joining a Facebook group is a fantastic way to offer free, gently worn clothing to people who really need it. This is especially useful if you’re getting rid of specific items (like clothing for a 2- or 3-year-old boy, for example, or maternity wear you no longer need). Post pictures of the clothing you’re offering, what size it is, and where to pick it up, and you’ll likely have a handful of people clamoring to come pick it…