By: Krysta Broeker
Cleaning out your closet seems like a great way to get rid of the outdated threads you have lying around your house, making room for new ones to replace them quickly. But what do you do with your old clothing items? Many Americans may try bringing them to a consignment shop or thrift store. However, with trends changing in the blink of an eye, it can be hard to get others to take them off of your hands. After being rejected at stores, you may simply throw your undesired clothing into the trash, thus adding to the enormous amount of waste in landfills across America.
According to the Huffington Post, the average American will throw away 81 pounds of clothing this year. After being forgotten in the landfills, these clothes will continue to rot away in heaping piles of trash. Clothing made up of natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, will biodegrade as food does, in the sense that they produce greenhouse gas methane as they slowly degrade. However, unlike fruit peels and vegetable scraps, your old t-shirts can’t compost due to all of the unnatural processes the fibers go through when becoming clothing. Thanks to bleaches, dyes, prints, and more, those chemicals can leach from your textiles, leading to toxins being introduced to groundwater. Synthetic fibers face the same dilemma, and because they’re essentially made of plastic materials, they will take hundreds upon hundreds of years to actually biodegrade.
Meanwhile, a majority of citizens in America are living in poverty or doing without essential items of clothing for a variety of reasons. From facing situations that force them into leaving all their belongings behind to simply not being able to ever purchase them from the common department store, many Americans rely on second hand clothing. The current trends and styles of today do not matter to those in need. So next time you’re Spring cleaning, consider where your items are going. Instead of simply throwing things in the trash and forgetting about them, consider making a bigger impact on someone’s life and giving your clothes to local shelters and charities that are always looking for donations of all sorts. Something as simple as clearing out your closet could benefit someone’s life, instead of simply adding to a landfill that is already bursting at the seams.