Have you ever wondered what happens after you donate your clothes?
The clothes you walk around in today hopefully will become the rags and wiping cloths of tomorrow. With so many uses and industries that rely on rags we need to make sure we spread the word on recycling them.
Did you know you can recycle clothes?
Wiping Cloths and Wiping Rags are used to stain, clean spills, paint house, clean airports and much more. Using these rags is very beneficial to the environment and yet so few realize how important it is to put those used clothes in a recycling bin and not the trash. Each American throws away on average 70 pounds of clothes a year. T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, pants all can be recycled for a longer life. Can you believe that?
Why is it so environmentally important to recycle clothes?
Just to give you an idea of the enormity of clothing production, globally we buy and sell more than 2 billion white t-shirts a year.
It takes roughly over 700 gallons of water and 1/3 pound chemical pesticides to make a single T-shirt.
Cotton uses more pesticides and insecticides than any other plant in the world and less than 1% is produced organically.
If you look at the environmental impact of making our clothing it adds up.
Where does that old t-shirt go?
- Sold at charitable stores or second hand clothing stores.
- Turned into wiping rags and wiping cloths.
- Converted back to fibers.
Once everything is collected it is first sorted by quality. Some can be resold as clothing; the rest is then sorted by material for down cycling. They then get sold to a textile recycler like A&A Wiping Cloth who cuts the clothing into wiping cloth size pieces. Once the clothes are cut into rag size pieces they are packed into bales and sold to distributors and end users.
What Can I do to help recycle clothes?
It’s simple; don’t throw away any clothes unless it’s 100% necessary and spread the word on recycling. Recycling facilities just ask for nothing to be wet or have mildew. You can donate to a local Goodwill Center.
Write a letter to your City Council and ask for a drop off box or more locations if there is not a clothing recycling box in your city. If you need help figuring out how to write a letter check out this article – How to Write a Letter to the Mayer.