Thinking of Donating Your Old Clothes to Charity? Here’s Why You Should


Donations to purple heart

An astonishing 99% of all the clothing and fabric that gets thrown out or tossed away nationally can actually still be worn or recycled into brand new clothes. Think back to all the times you’ve hesitated packing up your old threads in a large garbage bag and finding the nearest donation pickup spot, then backed out because of the effort required. When you toss out a pair of jeans just because they’re torn in the knee or a once-favorite shirt because it simply doesn’t fit the same way anymore, you’re actually contributing to a landfill waste problem that could easily be prevented by simply donating the clothes to charity.

But no charity would want my old clothes if they’re worn or frayed or all torn up.

Actually, plenty of clothing articles (no matter how long they’ve been hanging around your closet) can be easily converted into new threads. And if they’re still in relatively good shape, anything you drop off as charitable clothing donations can likely find a new owner with ease. The first step is to donate clothes, then leave the rest up to the professionals who sort it. If you never scope out the local organization you want to donate to — say, some wounded veterans charities — and just toss them away instead, you haven’t even made the effort! That’s where it all begins: a simple decision on your part.

OK, but where do the clothes go once I drop them off at the donation center?

That all depends on the type of collection or donation location it is. Some facilities with retail centers will place the items, after they’ve been sorted, onto the sales racks and wait for them to be purchased. The proceeds often go toward the center itself, so in the case of wounded veterans charities, the money would be put into use to help take care of the families of folks who’ve returned home from war with medical problems. If they can’t be sold, they’re often shipped off to a recycling center with hoards of other worn and ragged textiles.

And these recycling centers keep the clothes out of landfills completely?

The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles nonprofit group says 45% of used apparel is sent to other countries where it can find a better chance at being sold in secondhand markets. Additionally, 30% of the clothing becomes cloth for wiping or polishing, and another 20% is stripped down to its fibers and can go on to have a multitude of uses in upholstery or furniture stuffing. All this is done in order to avoid sending the clothing to landfills which only adds to pollution.

That’s all to say that if you have an opportunity to donate to some wounded veterans charities, take that chance. It’s better than having your clothes end up in a trash heap — and it also benefits those in need. What’s there to hesitate about?

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