America’s newest recycling trend could save billions in landfill costs every year: thrifty consumers are more interested in used clothing donations than ever before. The average American shopper buys more than 65 more new items of clothing each year and at least five pairs of new shoes, totaling more than 20 billion individual clothing purchases across America.
Shoppers who regularly shop at their local clothing donation center stand to save thousands of dollars every year; some charitable organizations save more than 100 million pounds of clothing from landfills each year, and Red Cross clothing donations allow the organization to continue its tradition of making a positive difference for individuals and families across America.
Red Cross donations total more than $650 million every year, and shoppers are more than willing to purchase gently used clothing, towels, and sheets. The amount of greenhouse gas that is saved for every 100 million pounds of clothing recycled is equivalent to removing more than 30,000 vehicles from American highways; experts report that Red Cross clothing donations, in combination with other clothing recycling organizations, save more than 400 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the earth’s atmosphere each year.
Teen shoppers are enthusiastic about recycling clothing as well. A new sweater may cost more than $50 at a shopping mall, but teens who shop at thrift stores that receive Red Cross donations could find themselves paying less than $5 for the same designer sweater. Likewise, buying recycled coats and shoes from donation centers can allow high school and college students to express their inner “fashionista” on a reasonable budget.
Parents are happy that their teens are recycling and are pleasantly surprised at the savings they can realize from used clothing donation centers and charity-run thrift stores. A family of five may spend more than $2,000 every year on shoes alone; finding shoes in good condition — for kids who will outgrow them in a few months — can allow families to save money for vacations or home improvement projects.
The average American adult throws away more than 10 pounds of clothing every year, but channeling usable clothing to Red Cross clothing donations generates more than just good feelings. Reports show that new clothing production accounts for about 20% of industrial pollution worldwide; for every 100 million pounds of clothing saved from landfills, more than 125 billion gallons of water are saved, along with more than 2 million pounds of insecticides that are routinely applied to farms growing cotton for clothing.
Most towns have at least one thrift store that recycles clothing; an internet search should reveal hours and locations. Working to make the environment cleaner and safer for future generations can be as simple as purchasing recycled clothing; with charitable giving expected to continue, thrifty American shoppers will also continue to support recycling and conservation efforts close to home.